VILLA CONSTITUCIÓN, DF – Incumbent president Montserrat Nowak de Chang of the Ardisphere has won a second term in elections held this past Sunday, August 2nd. The Partido Socialista (PS) victory was never really in doubt, given the unusual three-way race that developed, with an underpowered challenge from the Partido Federal (PF) on the right offset by a superpowered challenge from the Partido Verde (PV) on the left.
Under the Ardispherian constitution, an outright majority is not required, but a mere plurality of votes. Thus Nowak’s showing of 41% was sufficient to see off her challengers, Ximena Ata le Quercitain (PV – mayor of Caracol, DS) who received 29%, and Godofredo Fong Freire (PF – governor of Departamento Occidental), with 26%. Four percent of the votes went to other, minor candidates, including an alarming showing of 2% by the far-right Partido Sol y Cruz and their candidate, Severino Farías. Overall, however, the trend was leftward at the national level, with historically conservative but demographically suburbanizing Departamento del Sur electing its first left-leaning legislature in over 50 years.
Issues at the forefront of the election included late-breaking scandals in the Ministry of Transportation and surrounding the flubbed bid by Villa Constitución for the 2016 Pancontinental Games (Geolympiad). Although Nowak was largely untouched directly by the scandals, the Socialists took a bit of a hit in the parallel congressional elections, weakening their already minority position in both houses, but the fact that most of the gains went to Greens rather than to the Federalists means that it may actually increase Nowak’s chances of controlling the legislative agenda in her second term, since even during the elections Ata suggested that the most logical partner for a coalition in government would be between the Greens and the Socialists. One of the Partido Verde‘s slogans during the election has been, “¡Hagamos café!” (Let’s make coffee!), a reference to the mixture of “red” and “green” that would make a coffee-colored coalition, but also an indirect reference to one of the Green party’s recent huge legislative successes, supporting the conversion of a major portion of the Ardispherian coffee-growing industry to sustainable methods.
The Federal elections office confirmed the expected outcome of the election only shortly after polls closed on Sunday night. An emerging voting scandal in the city of Altazor in Departamento Libertad will have no impact on the outcome of any federal election, an anonymous source in the office confirmed, but the results of that city’s mayoral race has already seen legal challenges.