See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Argentina: Incumbent Mayor Macri Dominates First Round of Buenos Aires Elections

The day after the celebration of Argentina's Independence on July 9, Buenos Aires’ first electoral round gave a conformable victory to the center-right incumbent mayor Mauricio Macri, who won with 47.1% of the vote. He will now have to confront Frente Para la Victoria's candidate Daniel Filmus –who has the support of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner– in a runoff vote. The other main candidate was leftist politician Fernando “Pino” Solanas, who obtained a disappointing 12.8% in what turned out to be a very polarized election, as Daniel Filmus and Mauricio Macri actually raised 75% of the votes between the two of them.

The results were announced late Sunday night and took many militants of Frente Para la Victoria by surprise. Indeed, most of the opinion polls [es] were showing more balanced results the week before the election, and none of them predicted a 20% difference between the two leading candidates.

Election day in Buenos Aires. Image by Jorge Gobbi (CC BY 2.0)

In Ojos Porteños [es], Silvia Mercado underlines the fact that, in her opinion, Filmus’ results didn't live up to his expectations:

Daniel Filmus se enfrenta hoy a un dilema de hierro: perder el 31 de julio o perder el 31 de julio. Está claro que no tiene opciones…. Triste destino. Hasta el día anterior, estaba absolutamente convencido de que llegaría al 35 y hasta el 36 por ciento, que había descontado en las dos últimas semanas la distancia con Mauricio Macri. Se sostenía en la idea de que los porteños deciden siempre a último momento a quién votar.

Daniel Filmus is now facing a harsh dilemma: to lose on July 31 or to lose on July 31. It is clear that he has no options… Sad destiny. Until the day before, he was entirely convinced that he would reach 35 or even the 36 percent, that he had cut the gap with Mauricio Macri. He held to the idea that residents of Buenos Aires always decide who to vote for in the last minute.

French translator and essayist Anne Clavilier analyses the causes of that electoral reversal in Barrio de Tango [fr]:

Les causes de cette différence entre les derniers sondages… qui situait les deux candidats dans la fourchette des 30 à 40% d'intentions de vote, et le résultat du scrutin réel sont encore difficiles à identifier mais il ne fait guère de doute que le scandale Schoklender y est pour quelque chose… Il est vraisemblable aussi que, pour mettre à mal le pouvoir de séduction de Mauricio Macri (7) et la puissance des organes de presse hostiles à la candidature de la gauche péroniste, il aurait fallu au Frente para la Victoria un programme autrement argumenté alors que le candidat a beaucoup compter sur la popularité et le bon bilan de la Présidente.

The causes of that difference between the last opinion polls… were giving to each candidate [Mauricio Macri and Daniel Filmus] a range of 30% to 40% of voting intentions; and the real results of the elections, are still hard to identify, but there's no doubt that the Schoklender scandal [a corruption scandal that affected the organization of Madres de Plaza de Mayo which has the support of President Cristina Kirchner] has something to do with it. It is also likely that, to beat at the power of seduction of Mauricio Macri and the strength of press organs hostile to the candidature of the Peronist left, the Frente Para la Victoria needed a more argued program, whereas the candidate probably relied a lot in his popularity and the President's good balance.

Yet, when analyzing the elections’ figures, many commentators emphasize the singular political tradition of Buenos Aires compared to the rest of the country.

In the blog Artepolítica [es], contributor ‘Basurero’ puts the electoral success of Mauricio Macri into perspective:

No hay lugar para el asombro al ver el triunfo electoral del macrismo (de la derecha) en la ciudad más importante del país, tan refractaria al peronismo como a la izquierda… Y más aún cuando luego de 10 años de crecimiento económico y de un consumo popular y clasemediero, y sabiendo que la población que vota PRO no utiliza los hospitales publicos, las escuelas públicas, los medios de transporte públicos (en su mayoría), ni nada de lo que el macrismo desdeña en su gestión política… Vemos así que la ciudadanía porteña se polarizó nuevamente mostrando su tradicional perfil ideológico.

There is nothing to be surprised about in the electoral triumph of macrism (from the right) in the most important city of the country, so resistant to peronism as well as to the left… And even more after ten years of economic growth and popular consumption in the middle-class, and knowing that the population who vote for PRO [Mauricio Macri's party] don't go to public hospitals, public schools, don't use public transportation (the majority of them), nor anything that macrism disdains in its management of the city… We see that the citizens of Buenos Aires were polarized again, showing their traditional ideological profile.

For Twitter user @AyatollahRVP , Fimus obtained a good result, given the political profile of the city:

No sé por qué tanta depresión de los kirchneristas: 28% es buen porcentaje para el FPV en capital.

I don't understand why kirchnerists [in favor of Fimus] are so depressed: 28% is a good percentage for the FPV (Frente para la Victoria) in the capital.

Mauricio Macri on election day in Buenos Aires, after results were published. Image from Mauricio Macri's Flickr account (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Eva Row, in the bog La Cosa y La Otra [es], gives her own interpretation of the electoral tradition of Buenos Aires:

El porteño vota al macho. Macho es el que consigue superar al mayor poder… Entre Filmus y Macri, el hombre… elige votar al macho de Macri, el que sonríe y se burla el poder instituído, el poder de la política, ese mismo poder que lo tiene tan olvidado y resentido.

The resident of Buenos Aires votes for the macho man. The macho man is the one who achieves the most power. Between Filmus and Macri, the common man… chooses to vote for the macho Macri, the one who smiles and makes fun of the instituted power, the political power, the same power that makes him feel forgotten and resentful.

In her Twitter account, Cinthia Zancoli (@cinthiazancoli ) expresses a similar opinion:

Macri resulta 1 tipo carismatico y seductor para los ignorantes polítcos…

Macri happens to be the charismatic and seductive guy for the politically ignorant…

Blogger Daniel Mancuso [es] makes the same diagnosis, yet with a different assessment:

la Capital es el distrito electoral más especial de la República, y nada de lo que ocurra ahí es indicativo de lo que pueda ocurrir a nivel nacional. Es un distrito rebelde, el de la ciudad de Buenos Aires, desde tiempos inmemoriales… Hoy esa ciudad orgullosa vota de nuevo contra lo que el país dice que va a votar.

the capital is the most special district in the Republic, and nothing that happens here is indicative of what could happen on a national scale. It is a rebellious district, the one of Buenos Aires, from immemorial times… Today again that proud city votes against what the country is expected to vote for.

In the blog Discepolin [es], Mariana Moreno underlines the interlocking of local and national politics. According to her, it is the persisting conflict between the national government and Mauricio Macri that made the latter's electoral success possible:

El insulso Macri, que en cualquier país normal sería un candidato moderado y en la Argentina pre kirchnerista podría ser un afiliado radical, ha sido convertido por el partido gobernante en el “enemigo público numero 1″ y sometido una guerra implacable y cotidiana que paraliza a la ciudad, la priva de policía, corta sus calles, las llena de ladrones y narcos protegidos … los porteños tuvieron su momento de venganza y respuesta: votaron en masa por Macri, aumentando el caudal que obtuvo 4 años atrás a pesar de una gestión inoperante y paralizada.

The dull Macri, that in any normal country would be a moderate candidate and in pre-Kirchern Argentina could have been affiliated to the radical party, has been converted by the ruling party [the Frente Para la Victoria of Cristina Fernandez de Kichner] in the “public enemy number 1″ and has suffered a harsh daily war that paralyzes the city, depriving it from its police, blocking its streets, filling them with robbers and protected drug traffickers… the residents of Buenos Aires had their revenge and answer: they voted massively for Macri, increasing the score he reached 4 years ago in spite of his inoperative and paralyzed management.

For Twitter user Ariel Mayo (@mayoariel) it is time to learn a lesson from the results of this election:

Si la política fuera como el fútbol ¿haríamos cambios, no? Tipo: sale Dany, entra Carlos. Sale Juan, entra cualquiera.

If politics were like football, we would make some changes, right? For instance: Dany is out, Carlos is in. Juan is out, somebody else enters.

Nevertheless, the electoral race is far from over, given the importance of the capital's vote with a view to the presidential caucus on August 14. The suspense still hangs in the balance until the second round of voting in the capital, planed for July 31.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site