Formosa PJ names embattled governor as candidate

Gildo Insfrán is facing a judicial challenge in the Supreme Court from the opposition

In defiance of the opposition’s move to block him through the judiciary, the Partido Justicialista (PJ) in Formosa province named incumbent Gildo Insfrán as their candidate for governor. The province is set to hold local elections on June 25 and if successful, Insfrán would serve an eighth term in office.

Current Vice Governor Ebers Solís was announced as his running mate.

“We observe with deep concern that political sectors of the opposition, faced with their lack of popular support and shortage of ideas, seek to annul the will of the Formosan people with judicial shortcuts and collusion with the Buenos Aires City oligarchy,” said PJ Formosa in a statement.

Opposition National Deputy Fernando Carbajal and the Frente Amplio Formoseño Confederation filed separate petitions to the Supreme Court last week hoping to ban Insfrán’s reelection, questioning the “legal vacuum” of Formosa’s provincial constitution because it allows for indefinite reelections. Article 132 — modified in 2003 under Insfrán’s government— stipulates that governors hold office for four years and “can be reelected” with no further specifications. 

“Our constitution is clear. You can like the fact that Article 132 allows for the reelection of governors and vice governors or not, but that’s exactly what we’re talking about,” Formosa Electoral Judge Daniel Moreno told Télam.

He said that the Court shouldn’t move forward with “suspending the electoral process, taking into account that Insfrán’s candidacy, according to current electoral legislation, has no impediment.” 

The comment refers to the Court’s recent decision to suspend elections for governor in Tucumán and San Juan earlier this month after receiving similar requests from opposition politicians in those provinces. In those cases, the court found that the candidacies of incumbent governors Sergio Uñac and Jorge Manzur were unconstitutional (both according to their province’s constitutions and the National Constitution). The cases caused a political uproar.

“Those who used to knock on the doors of army barracks now knock on the doors of courts to impede the free and sovereign vote of Formosans,” said the PJ communiqué. 

A running theme in the ruling coalition’s political discourse has been that they are facing “lawfare” —persecution through the legal system— and that there is a “mafia” within the judiciary. These claims are often raised with regard to Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s recent corruption conviction and her prospective lifelong ban on public office

Deputy Carbajal was unavailable for comment.

The Court has since lifted Tucumán’s suspension without ruling on the constitutionality of Manzur’s candidacy after he withdrew from the race. San Juan canceled the gubernatorial election, holding partial elections on May 14.

As for Formosa, the Court has not answered the opposition’s initial request to block Insfrán’s candidacy — the key difference is that the provincial constitution allows for indefinite reelections. Insfrán is the longest-serving governor in the country currently in office.

—with information from Télam


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