March 9, 2014
Zamora’s wife easily wins governor’s race
Capitanich travels to Santiago del Estero, celebrates Claudia Ledesma Abdala’s victory
Outgoing Santiago del Estero Governor Gerardo Zamora’s strategy has finally paid off.
Zamora’s wife, Claudia Ledesma Abdala, who was appointed Civic Front candidate after the Supreme Court disqualified Zamora to run for a third term, yesterday won the gubernatorial elections by a wide margin and will rule the province until 2017.
At press time, the Civic Front was winning the election with 64.16 percent of the votes against 14.67 percent of the Progressive Front led by Zamora’s former deputy Governor Emilio Rached, with 88.93 percent of polling stations reporting.
The Santiago Viable front, led by Héctor “Chabay” Ruiz — supported by Renewal Front leader Sergio Massa — ended third after winning 11.2 percent of the votes — a relatively good result that may explain to some degree the Civic Front’s 14 percent point loss compared to the October 27 midterms.
The new administration “will unconditionally support President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner,” Ledesma Abdala told supporters last night.
It was a requited love — as late last night Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich announced the head of state will be meeting the “winning formula.”
“Thank you for putting your trust in this Civic Front project that will continue the path of progress, development and social inclusion,” the pro-government leader added.
There was such little mystery in yesterday’s election that the incumbent governor’s wife declared herself the winner an hour before the first official results were released.
“Victory is all yours, Gerardo”, she said.
Both Zamora and Ledesma Abdala are aligned with the Cristina Fernández de Kirchner national administration.
Capitanich, Parrilli celebrate
Last night, Capitanich and the president’s Chief of Staff Oscar Parrilli arrived to the province to celebrate the first Kirchnerite victory since the Chaco leader took office in the national administration.
Capitanich had anticipated his presence yesterday morning during a meeting with journalists at the Government House.
Late last night, a Civic Front supporters caravan celebrated the results throughout the streets of Santiago del Estero’s capital.
Capitanich and elected deputy Governor Emilio “Pichón” Neme — one of Zamora’s ministers — joined Ledesma Abdala in the celebrations.
The new Cabinet chief for the CFK administration stressed the Civic Front’s “strong electoral support” and said he went to the province to congratulate all political parties and the people of Santiago del Estero on behalf of the president.
Against legal odds
On November 5, the Supreme Court disqualified Governor Gerardo Zamora to run for a third term in office, as he had intended to do.
The ruling followed a presentation by Radical (UCR) Party member Emilio Rached, Zamora’s deputy governor from 2005 to 2007.
Before the October midterms, the top court delivered an injunction to freeze the gubernatorial elections. After disqualifying Zamora, the highest tribunal decided to allow elections to be held in Santiago del Estero.
Following the injunction, Zamora decided to withdraw his candidacy and promote his wife to run.
His Civic Front then announced that Claudia Ledesma Abdala would stand for governor, joined by Emilio Neder.
The Civic Front mustered 77 percent of the votes in the October 27 elections, well ahead the Progressive Front, which earned just over 14 percent of the preferences — figures similar to those of yesterday’s election, the main difference being a 14 percent loss of votes for the Civic Front.
Yesterday, Zamora refused to answer questions about the Supreme Court ruling and said he would let the results “speak for themselves.”
“I will no longer talk about the Court ruling, the most important thing is that the ballot boxes speak today,” Zamora told reporters.
Elected Governor Ledesma Abdala, a former ombudswoman for the city of La Banda, yesterday conceded her term will be marked by Zamora’s presence.
“Obviously my husband will be by my side, supporting me” in the daily administration, she told reporters.
Zamora himself said he will work with the provincial government that will start next week “from the place where I’m most needed” after casting his vote in the Hogal Escuela Eva Perón elementary school.
The incumbent provincial leader was thus admitting it was possible for him to join Ledesma Abdala’s Cabinet in the near future.
However, at press time it was uncertain if Zamora would stay in the province to become his wife’s Cabinet chief or if he would take a seat in the Senate.
Hot day at the polls
All the major candidates went to the polls early in the day.
Both Zamora and Ledesma Abdala cast their votes early yesterday morning, as did Rached and Victory Front (FpV) candidate César Eusebio Iturre.
By noon, around 30 percent of the province’s eligible population had already cast their ballot in an election day that had been repeatedly delayed due to the decision to uphold the two-term limit for provincial leaders.
The voting process was normal, despite early delays caused by late deliveries of ballot lists in some rural areas.
Over 648,477 citizens were allowed to vote in 1,983 polling stations throughout the northern province.
With temperatures reaching 34 degrees Celsius, voter turnout was of around 77 percent — similar to the one seen at the last elections, the head of Santiago’s Electoral Board Eduardo José Llugdar said.
Herald with DyN, Télam
Claudia Ledesma Abdala (Civic Front): 64.16%
Emilio Rached (Progressive Front): 14.67%
Héctor “Chabay” Ruiz (Massa ally -- Santiago Viable Front): 11.2%
César Eusebio (FpV): 4.55%
Alejandro Guidet (FIT): 1.71%
With 96.48 percent of polling stations reporting.