December 5, 2013
Freezes judicial orderFriday, September 20, 2013
Minister appeals ruling on free ad time for City candidates
“We think it is not fair for parties running on just a Legislature ticket. This decision puts them on an unequal footing with national forces like Victory Front (FpV) and the PRO”, Public Confidence candidate Graciela Ocaña told the Herald.
Furthermore, Ocaña anticipated to this newspaper that her party will appeal to the National Electoral Court as soon as it is officially notified today about the new legal scenario.
Last Friday, electoral courts distributed broadcasting minutes for ads free of charge among parties who took part in the PASO primaries.
As City Hall did not embrace the primaries law and the political reform, the national government understands that no media time for radio and TV spots correspond to Legislature candidates from the one stipulated in PASO’s legal framework.
On behalf of all local forces running in October with a single Legislature ticket not attached to senatorial and Lower House lists, Ocaña requested that Judge María Romilda Servini de Cubría to order a new draw including them in the media’s electoral space shuffle.
And she did: on September 16, an electoral court ruled in favour of Ocaña’s injunction.
However, Randazzo’s judicial counterstrike yesterday froze its implementation, leaving local parties with two options: either they pay multi-million sums for advertising time like any private advertiser —if they have the money to do so— or they resign themselves to alternative and less massive strategies.
Ocaña sees a squeeze between the Kirchnerite minister’s ploy and Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri’s silent complicity: both PRO and FpV benefited from local candidates’ media time quota redistribution when Buenos Aires City failed to regulate its local polls with PASO’s rights and obligations.
“By not adjusting to primary electoral procedure, Buenos Aires City candidates don’t have any spending limits for media propaganda beyond the ones established for campaign expenditure”, pointed out Ocaña.
And there is also no ban preventing local candidates from appearing in a TV spot among national candidates or even with party leaders. So local candidates showing up are somehow ensured.
“President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Macri do it”, she accused.
SUMAR I+D legislator candidate Rafael Gentilli agreed with Ocaña when asked about Randazzo’s appeal.
“A basic principle of electoral competition is equality of conditions between rallying parties, no matter how big or small they are”, Gentilli told the Herald.
By the time Ocaña was acting to guarantee media time proportional distribution, Gentilli filed a similar injunction to compel all parties running for BA City Legislature seats to compete on a separate ticket.
On the one hand, he explained to this newspaper, the objective was to avoid the coat-tails of senatorial and congressional candidates from major forces.
On the other, his aim focuses on countering an irregular but inevitable situation: the ruling parties’ use of official propaganda during campaign.
“For example, when Macri appears alongside (senatorial candidate) Gabriela Michetti or (Legislature ticket head) Iván Petrella, he is telling his audience to vote for them”, described the SUMAR I+D nominee.
Although the electoral court has yet to rule on Gentilli’s injunction, neither he nor his aides feel optimistic about its future resolution. Another possible hold-up for local forces.