December 12, 2013
Former vice-president consolidates position as opposition leaderMonday, October 28, 2013
Mendoza: Cobos chosen by half of province’s voters
Even though former vice president Julio Cobos was expected to do well yesterday in Mendoza, he still managed to surprise, winning a bigger share than expected yesterday and surpassing his results in the August primaries. The result is likely to set the former vice-president and Radical Party (UCR) leader on a path to an eventual presidential candidacy.
Cobos — who was chosen by close to 45 percent of the electorate in August — improved his results by three percentage points, taking 48 percent of the vote yesterday.
The election in Mendoza saw a weak performance by the Victory Front (FpV), which came in second and was separated by a 20 percentage point gap from Cobos’ UCR. Guaymallén Mayor Alejandro Abraham, who headed the FpV’s ballot, took close to 27 percent of the vote, followed by Leftist Workers Front’s (FIT) Nicolás del Caño.
Del Caño’s performance was the second-biggest surprise of the day. With more than 14 percent of the province’s voters, the left managed to double the already-impressive result it achieved at the primaries, when it was chosen by more than seven percent of the electorate.
Overall, the Radical Party looked set to win three of the five seats up for grabs, while the Victory Front would likely take the fourth. The fifth remained undecided: it was a two-horse race between the FpV and the left.
Abraham was quick to congratulate Cobos, even before the official results had been announced. He quoted General Juan Domingo Perón when conceding, saying “truth is the only reality.”
“Everything in due time”
Cobos, the country’s vice-president during Cristina Fernández de Kirchner first term in office, was virtually banished from the government after his “non-positive” vote against an agriculture export tax law in 2008. He came out of “semi-retirement” for the August primaries with yesterday’s result marking the first step in the relaunching his political career.
His showing in the election strengthens Cobos’ position within the Radical Party and could push him closer to an eventual presidential run in 2015. Analysts have long considered the possibility of an alliance between Cobos and some of the opposition’s major figures, including Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri and former Santa Fe governor Hermes Binner.
Regarding the possibility of running for the presidency, Cobos said yesterday that everything “has to come in due time.” After casting his vote at the Nadino Institute in Mendoza, Cobos said he believed the Radical Party would perform well in several provinces. “I will work for the party to reconcile us with society,” he said.
Eighty-two percent of the province’s eligible voters participated in yesterday’s election, according to Federal Judge Walter Bento.