The difference was 4.35 percent and the counting has already started. Can Frente de Todos (FdT) turn round the election in Buenos Aires Province? Government leaders are starting to recover from their heavy defeat and think they can win the territory that carries the most votes in the country.
Prior experience and recent history is not encouraging for the government. Both in 2017 and 2019 Juntos por el Cambio gained ground between the PASO primaries and the actual elections. But this time there are those who assure that it will be the ruling coalition which will be picking up votes.
In the two months of campaigning left until the November 14 midterms, the government will be on the hunt for the voters who backed Florencio Randazzo, whose Frente Vamos con Vos picked up barely 3.71 percent of the vote.
First in the crosshairs, some call him “the sacrificial lamb.” Not that the former Interior Minister has so many votes, but he is presumed to have the least loyal following, perhaps as few as 20 percent. But the bad news is that around half that vote will be accruing to Juntos por el Cambio with the other 30 percent possibly passing to Frente de Todos. The aim would thus be to add those votes but also to salvage some of those heading towards the opposition. They are also looking at those who did not vote – turnout in the territory governed by Axel Kicillof was only 68.29 percent.
“Our analysis of the results is that the fall in votes received in Buenos Aires Province is directly proportional to the number who did not vote. That’s why now is the time to convoke them back with concrete proposals vanquishing the disenchantment,” said Daniel Gollán, the second candidate for Congress on the FdT slate.
Minimising self-criticism, Andrés 'Cuervo' Larroque, the Buenos Aires provincial minister for Community Development, agrees with that analysis. “There was no growth in support for Mauricio Macri, our people did not turn out to vote,” he states.
‘The disappointed voter’
In government circles they identify those who did not vote last Sunday as “disappointed government voters” who wanted to punish the ruling coalition without voting for the opposition. This sector will be addressed in the next two months by various economic announcements.
“We could not do what we promised in 2019,” one source recognised. The excuse of the pandemic no longer sticks. The Casa Rosada had prepared different announcements for the first week after the vote with the aim of turning it around.
The government also plans to address the sector which voted for Facundo Manes.
“People voted for us who had never voted for Cambiemos,” said the Dar el Paso candidate upon winning 15 percent of the vote in the sprawling province. Ruling coalition leaders are also aware of this. There is an electorate which accompanied them in 2019 and this time moved to that specific Juntos list.
One important coalition leader has studied this: "Around 28 percent of the neurosurgeon’s vote is a lost voter from 2019. Adding those votes is worth double since it pushes back an opposition whose main challenge is to maintain its joint total.”
It all adds up – although the 0.96 percent of the votes garnered by Guillermo Moreno (who failed to reach the 1.5 percent electoral threshold) are few enough, they will still be chased.
Dismay is starting to disappear. There are some positive data points shrouded by the tremendous defeats in areas such as Lanús. In the district governed by Néstor Grindetti from Juntos por el Cambio, the Frente de Todos slate of municipal candidates topped the mayor’s while the opposition hopefuls for deputy squeaked ahead with 38.02 percent to 37.92 percent.
Some of the districts which came out of the PASO primaries painted yellow or red might yet end up being painted blue.