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Sunday, May 8, 2011

'I asked CFK to seek reelection,' San Juan's Gioja says after referendum victory

San Juan Governor José Luis Gioja gives his victory speech in the province''s capital.

After claiming victory in a constitutional amendment referendum that will allow him to seek a third term in office, San Juan Governor José Luis Gioja asked President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to seek reelection this October, assuring that the people of his province would be standing by her.

“I spoke with the President just a few minutes ago and amidst all the euphoria I told her that the people of San Juan want her to be President after December 10th,” he said during his victory speech. 

With a 34.25 percent of the votes counted, a 64.95 percent of the votes were in favour of a constitutional reform that would allow current Governor Jose Luis Gioja seek a third consecutive term in office.

At the same time, the political parties opposing a reform (one of them including the governor’s own brother, Senator Cesar Gioja,) had obtained a 35.05 percent of the votes, a result that seemed to fall short of expectations. 

José Luis Gioja is thus now legally able to seek reelections in the coming San Juan gubernatorial elections in October, just like he did in 2003 and 2007, when he was elected with over 60 percent of the votes.

Over 300,000 people are believed to have participated in the referendum, which amounts to a 66 percent of the registered voters. 

No relevant incidents were registered during the voting, except for an altercation that erupted in a school located in the San Juan capital, after several election judges in the opposition accused a man of using the identity of a deceased person in order to cast his vote.

However, the accusation was quickly dismissed by a member of the province’s Electoral Court, attorney Eduardo Quattropani, who offered a press conference with the alleged dead man sitting right next to him. 

Paulo Alfredo Farina, a 60-year old government employee, happens to have a national identity number that matches deceased María Ester Díaz’s voter registration card number.

“We hereby prove that this is just a smearing campaign started by someone making accusations without any real motive,” Quattropani said, hinting at some recent statements made by the governor’s brother, who said that “over 15,000 dead people were still part of the electoral roll.” 

Yesterday’s voting was done in compliance with a constitutional requirement that says that once a decision to amend the constitution is passed in San Juan’s Legislature, government authorities must hold a referendum to let the population express their opinion before making the actual changes.

Once a “Yes” victory is declared, the constitution states that the current governor is allowed to seek a third term in office. 

In the afternoon, Gioja had come on stage to talk reporters, assuring that “a referendum was the best option for the province.”

“It’s a celebration of democracy in which the people of San Juan get to choose their future,” he said.

He also said he considered this to be “the hardest campaign”, in a clear reference to his brother, who is also his main rival since he also seeks to become San Juan’s governor.

“We’ve been through a lot but here we are facing the facts since we have nothing to hide. I’m not the kind of person that carries a knife under the poncho,” he stated.

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Tags:  san  juan  gioja  referendum  





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