December 11, 2013
Santa Fe: Binner to reclaim territory
Socialism is expected to keep leadership
Voters in Santa Fe province will go today to the polls days after the Socialist Governor Antonio Bonfatti was the target of a shocking attack by gunmen against his residence, allegedly perpetrated by drug traffickers.
The uproar seems to have become a common place for the province ruled by the Socialist Party and allies. When people had to cast their votes to select candidates to run for today’s election, they were still going through the painful mourning after the natural gas leak explosion in a Rosario building that left 21 people dead.
This time, they will cast their votes two weeks after a gang opened fire on the governor’s house, an attack that was defined as the worst of its kind since the country was returned to democracy 30 years ago. After the attack, all the most important politicians of the province gathered to express their support to a shocked Bonfatti but, soon after that, the unity was forgotten due to the campaign.
In Santa Fe, the poll for the Lower House of Congress is not only about seats but also about the potential consolidation of a main hopeful for the presidential elections of 2015.
Former governor Hermes Binner seems to be the favourite today, after his victory in the PASO primaries. Binner, a Socialist leader — who in 2011 promoted the creation of the Broad Progressive Front (FAP)— contested the primaries with a list called “Cauce,” led by Radical politicians, but Binner’s ballot received 91 percent of the votes in that internal contest. As a whole, the Broad Civic and Progressive Front obtained 41 percent of the votes, leaving comedian Miguel del Sel of the centre-right PRO party in second place.
Del Sel heads BA City Mayor Mauricio Macri’s PRO ballot in Santa Fe province. A newcomer to politics, Del Sel managed to garner 26 percent of the votes, relegating the Kirchnerite Victory Front (FpV) to third place. But Del Sel also lost many of the votes he had achieved in 2011 when he run for governor against Bonfatti (FAP). Del Sel had won 35 percent against Bonfatti’s 38 percent in the gubernatorial contest of 2011.
After Congresswoman María Eugenia Bielsa refused to accept to top the FpV’s congressional ballot this year in Santa Fe province, former governor Jorge Obeid agreed to head the ruling coalition’s ballot. Obeid was seconded by Josefina Tosetto González, a member of the children of disappeared parents organization HIJOS and part of the Kirchnerite youth group La Cámpora. Obeid’s ticket performed poorly in the PASO primaries and there are no indications that today’s election will be any better for the Kirchnerites.
Tigre Mayor Sergio Massa, the Renewal Front leader in Buenos Aires province, stepped into the campaign in Santa Fe, after he met with former governor and current Peronist Senator Carlos Reutemann.
In a recent interview, Binner dismissed the possibility of Reutemann playing a central role in the 2015 elections.
“People have memory and facts do not change. His reappearance will not change people’s opinion,” the Socialist candidate underlined.
Binner has never tried to hide his desire to run for the presidency again . In 2011 presidential election, his was the second force after the FpV.
“We are interested in taking part in national politics. There is no doubt about it,” Binner concluded.
Today’s election will certainly be used as an opinion poll for 2015 but the two years ahead will be marked by quarrels within the progressive spectrum to define its presidential candidate.
More than 2,550,000 voters will go today to the polls. Santa Fe province is renewing nine seats at the Lower House of Congress.