Opposition coalition Juntos por el Cambio (JxC)’s candidate Marcelo Orrego was elected San Juan governor in Sunday’s provincial elections. He beat San Juan por Todos’ candidates, including governor Sergio Uñac’s brother, ending 20 years of peronist rule in the province.
Orrego of JxC allies Unidos por San Juan, who is close to JxC presidential hopeful Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, won with 48.4% of the vote, with 98.9% of votes counted at the time of writing.
The governor-elect wants to “work with everyone, without ideological barriers,” he said. “I’ve arrived in politics to work and to do,” Orrego added at his campaign headquarters after the preliminary results were revealed. JxC candidates including Rodríguez Larreta, BA mayor candidate Martín Lousteau, and national senator candidate José Luis Espert showed up in person to support Orrego.
“San Juan will be the engine for Argentina’s recovery,” said Larreta in a speech. “We will win over peronism and will start the definitive changes that’ll make this country a better place for us all to live.”
The elections in San Juan took place after the Supreme Court suspended the election in May, eventually ruling that incumbent Governor Sergio Uñac was ineligible to run for a third term. His brother, Rubén, replaced him on the ballot.
San Juan does not hold primaries, but multiple candidates from each coalition can run for the same position. The votes from the losing candidates are added to the total of the most voted candidate within the coalition.
While JxC had four candidates, the ruling coalition Todos por San Juan, linked to the national ruling coalition Unión por la Patria, had two: Rubén Uñac’s ticket, who got 16.7% of the total votes, and former governor José Luis Gioja, who got 26.7%. Gioja had three terms as governor between 2003 and 2015 before Sergio Uñac’s two terms.
The current governor accepted his coalition’s defeat last night at the campaign headquarters. “The people of the province have given their support to JxC, and we must respect their will,” he said.
Peronism’s two tickets, Vamos San Juan and San Juan Vuelve, won May 14’s elections — although the governor vote was suspended, San Juan voted for other local authorities that day. Uñac said his coalition needs to figure out “why we lost 10 points from May 14 to now,” but promised to serve the province’s people however he can.