Chaco elections: Zdero of Juntos por el Cambio unseats Capitanich

Overshadowed by Cecilia Strzyzowski’s disappearance, the vote ended 16 years of Peronist rule

Juntos por el Cambio (JxC)’s Leandro Zdero was elected governor of Chaco with over 46% of the vote. He beat incumbent Peronist Jorge Capitanich (41.6%), who governed the province between 2007 and 2015 and is serving his third term, which started in 2019. 

The election was overshadowed by the alleged femicide of Cecilia Strzyzowski. Two former local candidates and their son, who was Strzyzowski’s husband, have been charged with her murder. The family were allies of Capitanich.

Zdero is a member of Unión Cívica Radical (UCR), which is part of the JxC opposition coalition. His term will end 16 years of Peronist rule in the province.

Zdero celebrated his victory in JxC’s local headquarters alongside presidential candidate Patricia Bullrich. “Starting tomorrow, we will start working hard on an orderly transition [between governments],” he said, after thanking his voters.

Minutes earlier, Capitanich accepted defeat and said he had called Zdero to congratulate him.

Capitanich is a member of the regional Frente Chaqueño coalition, which is allied with ruling coalition Unión por la Patria (UxP). The ruling bloc garnered the most votes in August’s PASO primaries, with 34.6% of the ballot. JxC came third, with 26.5%, after libertarian economist Javier Milei’s La Libertad Avanza. However, LLA’s gubernatorial candidate, Alfredo Rodríguez, secured just 3.4% of the vote on Sunday.

“This is not a fief, this is a democratic state, where institutions and popular will are respected,” Capitanich said. His comments were in response to growing criticism from the opposition over his leadership after the disappearance and alleged murder of Cecilia Strzyzowski, which is being investigated as a femicide. Strzyzowski, 28, disappeared two weeks before the June 18 provincial primaries.

Strzyzowski’s husband, 19-year-old César Sena, and his parents, Emerenciano Sena and Marcela Acuña, are in pre-trial detention charged with her murder. Her body has yet to be located, but DNA tests confirmed that her blood was found at her in-laws’ home.

Both Emerenciano Sena and Acuña were candidates for Frente Chaqueño along with Capitanich, but were removed from the ballot when suspicions grew about their possible involvement in the case.

— with information from Télam.


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