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Cable de EE UU que denuncia que políticos argentinos ofrecen puestos políticos a jueces para beneficiarse de la justicia

ID: 122468
Date: 2007-09-17 15:00:00
Origin: 07BUENOSAIRES1862
Source: Embassy Buenos Aires
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Destination: VZCZCXYZ0000

DE RUEHBU #1862/01 2601500
R 171500Z SEP 07




E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/20/2017


Classified By: CDA Tom Kelly for Reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Ticket slates for the national
elections on October 28 are now final. First Lady and
presidential front-runner Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is
still leading the polls with a comfortable lead over the
next-closest candidate and stands to benefit from her
husband's increased campaigning on her behalf. The
September 2 provincial elections in Cordoba and Santa Fe
showed that the urban middle class continues to vote
against the Kirchner ticket. The second-place finisher in
Cordoba is demanding a recount, alleging fraud
and irregularities in that province's September 2
election. In Buenos Aires, Mayor-Elect Mauricio Macri has
begun wooing candidates to fill positions in the city
government, including Federal Judge Guillermo Montenegro of
the Skanska corruption case. In the last provincial
elections before October, Kirchnerista candidates triumphed
in both Chaco and Chubut, adding to a string of provincial
wins for the administration that counter the handful of
opposition victories. END SUMMARY.

The Race for President

2. (SBU) Senator and First Lady Cristina Fernandez de
Kirchner's healthy lead over the next-closest presidential
candidate remains steady. President Nestor Kirchner has
intensified his campaigning on behalf of his wife,
with appearances in San Miguel, Rio Gallegos, Catamarca,
and Tigre. With the official deadline of September 8 to
register candidates for the national elections on October
28 now passed, the official lists for each party are final.
On September 8, fourteen tickets registered to compete for
the presidential seat in October. The Peronist party will
compete under two denominations: President Kirchner's Victory
Front (FPV) and the dissident Peronist group Justice, Unity,
and Liberty Front (Frejuli). The traditional Radical party
(UCR) will not present its own candidates, but will take part
in a coalition embracing Radicals, some dissident Peronists,
and other minor parties. Leftist parties could not reach an
agreement to join forces and will be competing under six
different tickets: FRAL, MIJD, FITS, Workers' Party, MST-New
Left, and South Project.

3. (SBU) FPV is running First Lady and Senator Cristina
Fernandez de Kirchner for president and Mendoza Governor
Julio Cobos of the UCR for vice president. FREJULI's
candidate is San Juan Governor Alberto Rodriguez Saa, whose
running mate is Hector Maya. One Advanced Nation (UNA) --
a coalition of parties led by the remnants of the Radical
(UCR) party -- supports former Kirchnerista Economy
Minister Roberto Lavagna for president and Gerardo Morales
for vice president. The Civic Coalition formed to support
Buenos Aires Mayor Jorge Telerman's bid for reelection in
June and comprising several center-left parties supports
center-left leader Elisa Carrio and her running-mate
Socialist Senator Ruben Giustiniani. Center-right RECREAR
party has registered Ricardo Lopez Murphy and Esteban
Bullrich as its presidential and vice-presidential
candidates. This ticket is supported by Lopez Murphy's
former political partner Buenos Aires Mayor-elect Mauricio
Macri, but Macri is not supporting RECREAR's list of
candidates for other positions. Lopez Murphy is
concurrently running for National Congressman in the
province of Buenos Aires.

4. (SBU) The other tickets for president and vice
president include: United Provinces Movement (MPU) Jorge
Sobisch and Jorge Asis; Popular Party of Reconstruction
(PRP) Gustavo Breide Obeide and Raul Vergara; Popular
Loyalty Confederation (CLP) Juan Carlos Mussa and Bernardo
Nespral; Open Front Towards a United Latin America (FRAL)
Luis Amman and Rogelio de Leonardi; Independent Movement of
the Retired and Unemployed (MIJD) Raul Castells and Nina
Pelozo; Left Front of Workers for Socialism (FITS) Jose
Monts and Hector Heberling; Polo Obrero (PO) Nestor Pitrola
and Gabriela Arroyo; New Left (MST) Vilma Ripoll and Hector
Bidone; Southern Project Fernandeo Solanas and Angel

Provincial Races

5. (SBU) The September 2 provincial elections in Cordoba
and Santa Fe -- the second and third largest provinces in
Argentina -- showed the urban middle class voting against
Kirchner-backed tickets. Socialist Hermes Binner won in
Santa Fe, putting an end to 24 uninterrupted years of
Peronist rule. Binner won mostly on the support from
middle-class voters in the provincial capital Rosario. In
Cordoba, Peronist candidate Luis Juez distanced himself from
the Kirchner ticket and attracted more urban middle-class
votes than he was projected to receive. Although four
leading polling organizations had predicted, on average, that
Schiaretti would defeat Juez by 12 points, in the end the
margin was only one percent. The national and Cordoba
governments' resistance to a recount has generated suspicions
that the election was tainted by fraud. In the last
provincial elections before October, Kirchnerista candidates
triumphed in both Chaco and Chubut, adding to a string of
provincial wins for the administration that counter the
handful of opposition victories.

Socialist Wins Historic Victory in Santa Fe

6. (U) In Santa Fe, former mayor of Rosario and Socialist
party candidate Hermes Binner defeated Kirchner-backed
Victory Front (FPV) candidate Rafael Bielsa to win the
governorship with 48.59 percent of the vote. Bielsa received
38.7 percent of the vote. Binner is the first Socialist
candidate in Argentina's history to win a governorship. His
win also ends the 24-year Peronist domination of Santa Fe
politics, which was made possible by a 2004 change in the
electoral law that mandated primary elections and instituted
first-past-the-post voting for
governor has made it easier for opposition parties to succeed
(ref a). Despite Binner,s substantial lead in exit
polls, Bielsa's concession speech came notably late, only
when almost all ballots had been counted.

Cordoba Elections Hotly Contested

7. (U) Peronist and current Vice-Governor Juan Schiaretti
narrowly defeated FPV candidate Luis Juez in the Cordoba
gubernatorial election by a margin of a contested 1.1
percent. Schiaretti won 37.06 percent of the vote while
Juez obtained 35.95 percent of the vote. According to the
provisional count, only 17,000 votes separated the two,
prompting public cries of electoral fraud by Juez
supporters culminating in a public protest which mobilized
20,000-50,000 supporters in the city of Cordoba on
September 6. Juez's lawyers appealed to the provincial
judge overseeing the elections, Marta Vidal, to demand a
hand recount of every ballot box, citing irregularities
such as the unusually lengthy 18-hour vote count and a
50,000 ballot difference between the votes cast for
governor and those cast for provincial legislators, which
are usually nearly equal. (COMMENT: Ballots in Argentina
are separated into several sections corresponding to the
offices up for election. If voters want to vote for
different parties, they must tear the ballots for each
party for which they wish to vote and place the torn
sections in the voting envelope. This process takes time
and effort and is uncommon. For a vote discrepancy between
offices to occur, voters would have had to separate the
portion of the ballot for governor from the rest of the
ballot and submit only the governor portion. While not
impossible, this practice is uncommon and it is improbable
that 50,000 voters in Cordoba voted only for the office of
governor. END COMMENT.) They also noted that lawyers
representing the political parties were not present to
observe when Correo Argentino, the government agency
charged with running the election, entered the election
data into its computer system.

8. (U) While Vidal agreed there were some irregularities
and called for a recount, she stipulated that the
definitive recount will proceed using the vote-count
telegrams sent from each voting table, not a hand recount
of every vote cast. This is in accordance with Argentine
law, which allows only ballot boxes suspected of being
tampered with to be opened. Juez was represented at each
voting location by party observers who signed the
vote-count telegrams, which would indicate that a
vote-by-vote recount is not necessary. However, Juez's
camp maintains that the vote-count telegrams could have
been manipulated either in transit to being entered into
the database or at the point that the numbers were entered
into the elections database. Two weeks after the
elections, Vidal's office has yet to examine more than 10%
of the vote-count telegrams.

9. (SBU) FPV candidate and Senator Jorge Capitanich has
declared himself the winner, by 0.39%, of the September 16th
elections for governor in Chaco after winning 46.84% of the
vote.. Pre-election polls predicted a comfortable win by the
UCR candidate Angel Rozas, who had served as governor of
Chaco previously from 1995-2003, and who finished second with
45.45%. Six voting stations' results had yet to be counted
as of the morning of September 17, but Capitanich's camp has
said it feels confident of its victory. Rozas has said he
will wait until all of the votes are counted before
conceding, although he did acknowledge Capitanich's apparent
lead. Capitanich and ARI candidate Alicia Terada had
complained to the electoral authorities of "apocryphal votes"
and missing ballots at some voting locations, but there have
been no accusations of malfeasance so far. Rozas and
Capitanich previously competed for the governorship of Chaco
in 1999, when Rozas won with 63.36% over Capitanich's 35.91%.

10. (SBU) Chubut also held elections on September 16th for
governor and provincial legislators. Incumbent Kirchnerista
Governor Mario Das Neves won easily with 71.38% of the vote
over the other candidates: Raul Barneche of the UCR received
14.17%, Roque Gonzalez of the Chubut Action Party received
4.75%, and Guillermo Bonaparte of the center-left ARI
received 4.17%. Das Neves's win in 2003 was a surprise
defeat of the UCR, which had governed the province for the
previous 12 years. This election is the worst finish for the
UCR in Chubut since 1983.

Skanska Update

11. (SBU) Federal Judge Guillermo Montenegro, who is
leading the investigation into the alleged bribes received
by former Argentine government officials working on the
project to extend the northern gas pipeline (known as the
Skanska case--REF B), has received an offer from
Mayor-elect Mauricio Macri to join his cabinet as the new
Security and Justice Minister in the city of Buenos Aires.
Concurrently, Vice President and FPV candidate for Buenos
Aires province governor Daniel Scioli proposed a similar
deal to the federal prosecutor in the Skanska case Carlos
Stornelli to become his potential new Security Minister in
the Buenos Aires province. There are rumors that
both professionals would accept the offers, thus leaving
the Skanska case at a halt for approximately one year.
According to court sources quoted in local press, one year
is the estimated time for a new judge and prosecutor to
study the case from scratch and then move forward with the

12. (SBU) Local analysts have said they suspect political
motivations behind these two offers. In the case of
Stornelli, it would seem that the government might be
trying to stall the investigations of two former
administration officials accused in the case to prevent
more negative press about corruption and the
administration. In Macri's case, some analysts are

speculating about a possible pact between Macri and the
Casa Rosada as a sign of mutual tolerance and, eventually,
as a means of getting Kirchner's compromise to provide the
city with the funds necessary to finance an autonomous
police force.


13. (C) Fernandez de Kirchner remains poised to win next
month's presidential elections. Some elements of the
fragmented national opposition have seized on the election
irregularities in Cordoba and the wildly varying
polling data to press their claims that the Casa Rosada is
trying to manipulate the outcome of provincial and
ultimately the national presidential elections. Two
presidential candidates, Robert Lavagna and Elisa Carrio,
have called for international observers to monitor the
national presidential elections in October. Although this
latest round of criticism is unlikely to jeopardize Fernandez
de Kirchner's chances to win the presidency in October, those
irregularities have added to doubts about GOA transparency.
These two election outcomes and the possibility that the
Kirchners' support among the middle class may be waning
suggest that Fernandez de Kirchner could face a distinct
political climate if she wins in October. Political analysts
have not only begun to speculate about what a Fernandez de
Kirchner administration will look like, but also about how
the Peronists and UCR members of the FPV alliance will
support her mandate. END COMMENT.
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