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Neuquén governor Omar Gutiérrez secures re-election

Tensions over electronic voting system as Citizens United-Neuquén Front complains voters experienced alleged irregularities when casting ballots.

Monday 11 March, 2019
Citizens United leaders in Neuquén province denounce alleged irregularities in the provincial elections.
Citizens United leaders in Neuquén province denounce alleged irregularities in the provincial elections. Foto:Télam

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Tensions in Neuquén province over a new electronic voting system boiled over into allegations of "irregularities" on Sunday, after Governor Omar Gutiérrez secured re-election with nearly 40 percent of the provincial vote.

Gutiérrez held his position, representing the traditional party of power in Neuquén, the Neuquén Popular Movement, with a wide margin over Citizens Unity-Neuquén Front runner-up Ramón Rioseco on 26.6 percent.

The candidate for President Mauricio Macri's Cambiemos coalition, Horacio Quiroga, finished with 15.13 percent, trailing in third.

After a day of voting in which the three leading candidate described the new electoral process as working with "normality", the Citizens Unity-Neuquén Front, which responds nationally to Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, cited voters from voting stations across the province who had experienced alleged irregularities.

Some voters reported that "the machine did not work according to the way it is supposed and who proved that their vote was not the one they lodged," claimed candidate for the provincial legislature Sergio Fernández Novoa.

Local officials dismissed the claim. The local electoral college insisted "the election has been been carried with total normality," its president Germán Busamia told the Todo Noticias news channel.

He confirmed the College had received five complaints, which centred on voters wanting to change their choice after lodging their vote. He admitted there were "some difficulties with some machine but these were quickly replaced."

It was the first time Neuquén has used the electronic voting system.

Over 500,000 people in Neuquén were expected to vote Sunday, including foreign nationals who are allowed to vote in the elections of the Governor and Vice-Governor, as well as provincial lawmakers and school councillors.

-TIMES/PERFIL

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