BUENOS AIRES – Kirchnerism passed its first electoral test of the year in Argentina with its candidate reserving a conclusive victory in the primary elections in Salta province, with hopes of repeating the results in the upcoming polls, culminating in the presidential elections in October.
Juan Manuel Urtubey surpassed poll predictions and took 47 percent of the votes in the Salta primaries, with a 13 point lead over his nearest rival, Juan Carlos Romero of the Peronist Renewal Front.
Urtubey, Salta governor since 2007, will contest for a third term in the provincial elections in May.
The incumbent governor and running mate Miguel Isa were received on Monday by Argentine President Cristina Fernandez in the presidential house in Buenos Aires.
“From the results in Salta, I feel that we are also on our way at the national level... so that Argentine people vote in a similar fashion: for the reliable and the superior,” Buenos Aires Gov. Daniel Scioli, a top contender for the presidential elections from the ruling party, said on Monday.
Despite Renewal Front’s defeat at the Salta primaries, the party’s candidate won the mayoral race in Salta.
The greatest losses were suffered by the conservative Republican Proposal party, led by Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri who has joined hands with the opposition Radical Civic Union party.
The next round of primaries in the Argentine electoral season will be on April 19, with elections in the western Mendoza and central Santa Fe provinces.
A week later, on April 26, Buenos Aires will hold primary elections, and the mayoral race will be decided on July 15.
The results of provincial primaries will impact the national primaries, to be held on Aug. 9.
Kirchnerism has yet to select its candidates, but is looking at a list of potentials including Scioli, Interior and Transport Minister Florencio Randazzo, and cabinet chief Anibal Fernandez.
The elections will see a new president, the renewal of the Parliament and, for the first time, the Argentine representatives of the Mercosur Parliament being elected by popular vote.
So far, none of the three favorites to succeed current President Cristina Fernandez, namely Scioli of Kirchnerism, Massa of Renewal Front and Macri of Republican Proposal have made a significant break in the polls.