BUENOS AIRES – The Argentine province of Santa Fe began on Wednesday a final tabulation of votes from last weekend’s gubernatorial election after the initial results showed a virtual three-way tie.
The process, which is expected to take more than a week, will involve examining the individual ballots from 4.55 percent of polling places.
The contest pits Miguel Lifschitz, of the incumbent socialist FPCS party, against humorist Miguel del Sel, from the conservative PRO, and Omar Perotti, candidate of President Cristina Fernandez’s FpV.
Released in the wee hours of Monday, results based on returns from 95.5 percent of precincts showed Lifschitz in first place, but leading Del Sel by a mere 2,100 votes in a province with roughly 2.5 million registered voters.
Lifschitz had a margin of only 1.44 percent over Perotti.
While the PRO complained of “suspicious” circumstances around the initial count, electoral authorities in Santa Fe decided against a 100 percent manual recount, agreeing only to count individual ballots from the polling stations not included in the first tabulation.
The federal Cabinet chief, Anibal Fernandez (no relation to the president), described the PRO demand for a full recount as “exaggerated” and unprecedented.
Argentina’s political class is paying close attention to results of provincial elections as the country prepares for October’s national ballot to choose a successor to Cristina Fernandez, who is barred by term limits from running again.
Argentina - Declaracion Jurada Zannini - June 2015 by Latin American Herald Tribune