BUENOS AIRES – The Argentine government said on Monday that, with almost 96 percent of the ballots counted, a “technical tie” exists between the ruling and opposition party legislative candidates in Buenos Aires province, the country’s largest electoral district, in the primary election held on the weekend.
Some 37 percent of the country’s voters are concentrated in the capital province, and in Sunday’s senatorial primaries, the Let’s Change (Cambiemos) party obtained 34.19 percent and the Citizen Unity (Unidad Ciudadana) party, headed by former President Cristina Fernandez, had garnered 34.11 percent.
“The provisional count has ended and there remain 4 percent (of the ballots) to determine the election. We’ve gotten telegrams to do a recount. There (is a difference of) 6,000 votes among nine million votes, and there is no (definitive percentage) difference,” said the Interior Ministry’s secretary for Political and Institutional Affairs, Adrian Perez.
He said that the definitive vote count will begin in two days and the final results will be made known about 10 days after that.
According to the provisional count, in the country’s 24 electoral districts, the ruling Let’s Change front prevailed in 10 and is tied in Buenos Aires and Santa Fe provinces, giving the governing party a good basis on which to contest the Oct. 22 legislative elections.
“I’m very happy and grateful because a majority of Argentines, not only in Buenos Aires province but all over the country, have voted to defend this ... aim to improve, to grow, not to resign ourselves anymore,” President Mauricio Macri said at a press conference on Sunday.
In contrast to the governing party, Fernandez waited almost seven hours into the vote count to appear before her supporters.
The former president, who governed from 2007-2015, said that Citizen Unity had won the election, adding that what happened with the delay in the recount is an “embarrassment” and an “offense against democracy,” accusing the government of staging a “show” to celebrate their temporary advantage in the vote count at an opportune time for television viewership during the evening.
Voter surveys prior to the election found that Fernandez was ahead of the government’s candidate, former Education Minister Esteban Bullrich, on Sunday with about 35 percent of the votes.
The government obtained broad victories in the province of Cordoba and the city of Buenos Aires, where one of the founders of Let’s Change, lawmaker Elisa “Lilita” Carrio, prevailed with 49.55 percent of the votes.
Some 33.1 million Argentines were eligible to vote in the primaries to select the candidates who will compete in the legislative elections on Oct. 22, in which 24 Senate seats and 127 seats in the Chamber of Deputies will be up for grabs.