Mendoza is one of the five most populated provinces in Argentina, with just over two million inhabitants, 4.9% of the country’s total population and, therefore, a key jurisdiction for the legislative elections on November 14. . Located in the west of the country, on the border with Chile, it is the main wine-producing province of the country, in addition to having fruit and vegetable production, oil and gas extraction and being an important tourist destination.
In Mendoza, three national senators will be elected (it will be one of the eight who will elect senators, the chamber where the ruling party’s quorum is at stake), and five national deputies. Half of the chambers of the local Legislature will also be renewed, as well as the deliberative councils of the 18 departments.
This province has historically been characterized as one of the territories most opposed to Peronism, a party that is the majority in the Frente de Todos, the coalition to which President Alberto Fernández and Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner belong.
In Mendoza there are 1,439,463 citizens authorized to vote, 4.2% of the national register. Although in percentages it is far from the populous province of Buenos Aires (37%), analysts maintain that It is one of the jurisdictions that contributes the most to the national political scene in qualitative terms, taking into account that it is one of the four governed by the opposition (along with the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Corrientes and Jujuy) and also because of the importance of the political figures who dispute power at the national level.
The ruling front, Cambia Mendoza, is part of the nationwide coalition of Juntos por el Cambio, party of former President Mauricio Macri, which will try to ratify the resounding victory it had in the primaries against a Peronism that will try to cut differences. In the September 12 elections, the Cambia Mendoza front obtained 44% of the votes, while the Frente de Todos had one of its worst elections, with 25% of the vote.
Mendoza’s political figures “have an important influence on national politics”
In dialogue with France 24, Martha Reale, director of the consulting firm Reale-Dalla Torre, highlighted that Mendoza is a “highly observed and extremely important” jurisdiction on the national scene in political terms, by stating that, after the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires It is the “strong” province of Together for Change, “which gives it a differential with respect to the rest”.
But, also, because the figures who will participate in the elections “have an important influence on national politics.” The main references of Cambia Mendoza are the national president of the Radical Civic Union (UCR, which is part of the provincial governing coalition), Alfredo Cornejo; and Governor Rodolfo Suárez. Both are candidates for national senator; although Suárez appears as a substitute.
There is also the candidate for national deputy Julio Cobos, current national senator and who was vice president of Fernández de Kirchner in 2007 (later he would break relations in the context of a conflict with the agricultural sector, in 2008, when he voted against the national government itself that was trying to implement higher withholdings on exports from that sector).
During these 20 months of pandemic, Mendoza was shown with a more open vision in the social and economic areas, while the national government had more restrictive policies, with strict quarantines, than from the vision of the Mendoza ruling party, and the opposition at the national level in general, they have deepened the country’s economic crisis situation.
On the side of the provincial opposition, the figure is Anabel Fernández Sagasti, national senator for the Frente de Todos, who will seek to revalidate her seat and who is very close to Fernández de Kirchner.
Militancy, heart, sneakers and courage ❤️
We need a united, organized, and empathetic Peronism to solve the problems we have in Mendoza and Argentina.
– Anabel Fernández Sagasti (@anabelfsagasti) October 28, 2021
In his campaign he denounces that in the province there is a situation of high insecurity by arguing that crime has increased in the province, while in the provincial government they assure that although minor robberies rose by 28%, aggravated robberies fell by 35% ( for use of a knife or firearm) in the last year.
Fernández Sagasti also accuses Cambia Mendoza of “over-indebting” the province for a bond in dollars launched in 2016 for US $ 500 million, but the local Finance Minister, Lisandro Nieri, defended the management by indicating that this bond “was to pay off debts of the Peronist governments “and that currently” a process of debt reduction and fiscal consolidation is under way. “
A high level of blank voting in the primaries
In general terms, the Frente de Todos is committed to maintaining the vote of the popular classes and union sectors, trying to improve its poor performance in the primaries; while Cambia Mendoza will try to get closer to 50 points to strengthen the space and show itself to the country as one of the leading provinces of the opposition to Kirchnerism. But in addition, a resounding victory would encourage Cornejo and Suárez to be in the names of possible members of a presidential binomial in Together for Change, with a view to the 2023 presidential elections.
One fact to take into account is that in the primary election the high level of blank votes was surprising, which was around 11% (at the national level it was only 4%), and which corresponded to a degree of “generalized anger from the society due to the economic situation, deepened by the pandemic ”, according to Reale’s interpretation. “The historical average of the blank vote in Mendoza is between 3.5 and 4%, so this number greatly exceeded the average,” he commented, adding that it was the “middle and low” economic sectors that were mostly turned over to the blank vote, “because they were the ones who had the least access to state aid.”
In any case, on November 14, if the results of the primaries are maintained, Cambia Mendoza will provide two senators and 3 national deputies; while the Frente de Todos will do so with a senator and two deputies. Meanwhile, the local Legislature would continue to have an official hegemony, with Cambia Mendoza’s own quorum in both chambers.