Frente para la Victoria (FPV) candidate Maria Eugenia Martini was elected yesterday as mayor of Bariloche with 31.12% of the vote. The election comes five months after the ousting of former mayor Omar Goye.
Martini had been appointed caretaker mayor in January, replacing a suspended Goye, also from the FPV, who was removed from his position in April after being accused of irregularities in his management of public funds. He was also suspected of being involved in the widespread looting that took place in the southern city last December.
Over the last few months, Martini and the governor of Rio Negro, Alberto Weretilneck, have developed a somewhat conflictive relationship. Weretilneck, from the Frente Grande, became vice-governor in 2011 thanks to an alliance with the FPV. Soon after taking office, governor Carlos Soria was killed and Weretilneck was promoted to the top job. However, the governor did not support Martini’s candidacy, instead backing her competitor Carlos Valeri. FPV Senator Miguel Pichetto -the national government’s strong man in the province of Río Negro- pressured Weretilneck to support Martini, without any results.
During the campaign, Pichetto assured that Martini had the support of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and the national government. After the election, he stated that “the people have confirmed its trust in the national project.”
Martini was followed by Gustavo Gennuso (25.16%) from Frente del Pueblo and Carlos Valeri (25.16%) from the Frente Grande. The other candidates were Hugo Castanon from the Union Civica Radical (UCR), Adolfo Foures from SUR, and Claudio Lueiro from Union PRO.