Larreta announces separate ballots for city and national elections

The move heightens tensions within the opposition, putting him at odds with party-mate Mauricio Macri

Buenos Aires mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta has announced that national and city elections will be held on the same days this year, but with separate ballots.

“This avoids the need for porteños to vote up to six times this year,” he said, in a video posted to social media. “It saves us a lot of time and avoids unnecessary spending.”

Rodríguez Larreta said that city dwellers would vote on a unified electronic ballot. Since national elections use paper ballots, this means that city and national ballots will be separate.

The prospect of dividing the ballot for national and city elections had put him at odds with ex-president and Republican Proposal (PRO) party-mate Mauricio Macri, who tweeted “what profound disappointment” following the announcement. 

He was echoing the words of María Eugenia Vidal, a deputy and Rodríguez Larreta’s rival for the Juntos por el Cambio opposition coalition’s presidential nomination, who tweeted: “This is not the PRO and the JxC we promised Argentines. No personal ambition can come before our values and team. We’re change or we’re nothing.”

On Sunday night, Macri tweeted that the move meant “more spending, more queuing, more time, more ballots, more boxes.”

Rodríguez Larreta said the electronic ballots were “more agile, more simple and more transparent”, adding that he hoped the whole country would switch to electronic voting in the next elections.

The current city mayor and presidential hopeful also said that he would back a candidate from his own party, PRO, defining the candidate in the coming weeks. 

Rumours had been circulating that Rodríguez Larreta was in talks to back Martín Lousteau of the Radical Party, with whom PRO is allied in opposition coalition Juntos por el Cambio, as city mayor. 

The alliance would have put him at odds with Macri, who has backed his cousin Jorge Macri to become the next Mayor of Buenos Aires.


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