Macri Protege’s Win in Buenos Aires Still Means Run-off

Opposition presidential hopeful Mauricio Macri saw his favored candidate win by a comfortable margin in elections for mayor of Buenos Aires, while failing to avoid a run-off.

Horacio Rodriguez Larreta of Macri’s PRO party had 45.5 percent of votes against 25.5 percent for the ECO alliance’s Martin Lousteau and 21.9 percent for Mariano Recalde of the national government’s Victory Front alliance with 98 percent of votes counted, according to the city government. Lousteau said he would compete in a second round, scheduled to take place on July 19, since Larreta failed to gain a majority.

Macri, mayor of the city for two four-year terms, described the election as a plebiscite on his presidential bid as he seeks to end 12 years of government by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her late husband Nestor Kirchner. The question now is whether Lousteau can attract enough of the votes cast for Fernandez’s Victory Front alliance to overcome Larreta’s 20-point margin.

“This is a clear message of confidence in what we’ve been doing,” Macri said in a speech to supporters after results were announced. “This is part of something much bigger that’s happening in all of the country.”

Staying On

Lousteau, whose alliance includes members of the Radical Party and the Civic Coalition that is allied with Macri at a national level, denied suggestions by the PRO party that he might decline to contest a run-off.

“Today the residents of Buenos Aires decided that there will be a run-off,” Lousteau told supporters. “With a run-off, we all win.”

In Cordoba province, the country’s second biggest electoral district, Juan Schiaretti, who is part of presidential candidate Sergio Massa’s alliance of dissident Peronists, defeated Oscar Aguad from Macri’s alliance by 39.9 percent against 33.8 percent with 97 percent of votes counted. Fernandez’s candidate, Eduardo Accastello, came third with 17.2 percent.

Fernandez’s presidential candidate, Daniel Scioli, traveled to La Rioja province to celebrate the victory of the Victory Front alliance’s Sergio Casas, who won with 53.9 percent against 38.2 percent for Julio Martinez of Macri’s alliance.

In Corrientes province, which voted for provincial lawmakers and senators, the Radicals, part of Macri’s alliance, won a majority, while in primaries in La Pampa province, Carlos Verna, a dissident Peronist, defeated Fernandez’s candidate Fabian Bruna, by 58.1 percent against 41.8 percent.

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