A low turnout and a high percentage of number of blank ballots characterised last Sunday’s Salta provincial elections, with Governor Gustavo Sáenz coming out on top among those who did vote.
Interpretations were divided as to whether the Covid-19 pandemic or political disenchantment were most responsible for the low turnout.
With 99.84 percent of the 505 precincts reporting, Unidos por Salta, headed by Emiliano Durand (a coalition backing the governor), triumphed with 32.13 percent of the vote, a percentage rising to almost 44 percent with the 11.86 percent for Gana Salta led by Matías Posadas (a list even more closely aligned with Sáenz).
Juntos por el Cambio topped by Martín Grande (17.48 percent) were the runners-up with single digits for the ruling coalition nationwide, Frente de Todos (9.17 percent) headed by Pamela Ares.
The striking feature of the year’s third provincial election (after Misiones and Jujuy) was the low turnout of 64.4 percent of the electorate (677,832 out of a total 1,052,535) while the votes cast included 34,323 blank or spoiled ballots (12.1 percent), thus outvoting Frente de Todos. All three of these elections have been won by the corresponding provincial government.
The Salta governor’s victory places him in a strong position to reform the provincial Constitution with a view to seeking re-election in 2023.
Following his triumph, Sáenz told the social networks: "Our commitment is towards working for all the people of Salta alike. We have formed a marvellous team, no grieta rifts nor resentments here, only love for Salta."
The Salta electorate voted electronically in 3,198 polling-booths between 6am and 6pm last Sunday, electing 12 senators and 30 deputies at provincial level, as well as 343 municipal councillors and 60 constituent assembly delegates.