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Yesterday, peronist governor Juan Manuel Urtubey, won the gubernatorial elections in Salta. Urtubey’ victory, which earned him a second term in office, took place amidst an atmosphere of tranquillity and extended voter participation. The re-elected governor obtained 56.47% of votes.
Representative and candidate Alfredo Olmedo, aligned with Macri’s Pro party, came second with 25% of votes. Former lieutenant governor, Walter Wayar, came third with just 8.78% of votes. Wayar was supported both by minister of federal planning, public investment and services Julio De Vido and General Confederation of Labour’s (CGT) secretary general, Hugo Moyano.
In spite of Urtubey’s thanking president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner for her support, he stated he is “a governor and not a national government’s delegate”. Thus, Urtubey referred to his autonomy from the Casa Rosada and prevented further connections with the ruling party Frente para la Victoria. “I’m not kirchnerist, I’m peronist”.
In contrast with Catamarca’s and Chubut’s gubernatorial campaign, Urtubey did not nationalise his candidacy. Posters and television spots never alluded to his relationship with president Fernández de Kirchner. Urtubey argued that, although he agrees with the president’s national project and her re-election prospects, he will “continue to express his dissent and criticism” when necessary. The re-elected governor remarked “Salta’s people have mostly a good opinion on the president’s term. My intention is to accompany the national government as I have been doing so far. But the elections were local”.
Urtubey has always had a difficult relationship with the kirchnerism’s leadership, a faction he tends to refer to as the “Buenos Aires’ intellectuality”. The governor, amongst his closest, jokingly says he is an “aesthetic nuisance” to the ruling party, an idea he tends to relate to his upbringing in the countryside and his overseas’ education.
The Kirchnerism, which still regards the victory as its own, has responded to Urtubey with equal coldness. No public officer travelled to Salta while the president, interior minister Florencio Randazzo and chief of staff Aníbal Fernández barely telephoned the governor to congratulate him.
The electronic voting system, used by a third of voters, has proved to be effective when recounting. An hour after closing commissions, 20% of the polling stations had already been counted and the official results were published online by the provincial electoral tribunal. However, the new system caused delays in some polling stations and denounces of fraud by the opposition.