10/28/2013 Buenos Aires Herald
The Workers’ Leftist Front (FIT) secured historic victories yesterday, winning its first three seats in the Lower House of Congress and securing spots for provincial lawmakers.
In Salta, the front finished second in the Lower House election and put in a strong showing in Buenos Aires City and in the provinces of Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Córdoba and Jujuy. At press time, with over 78 percent of the vote counted, results indicated the party had expanded its presence across the country, taking five percent of the national vote – one percent higher than in the primaries on August 11.
FIT’s best showing was in Salta, where the party won an historic second-place finish, with candidate Pablo López earning a congressional seat with 28 percent of the vote.
In Mendoza, FIT’s Nicolas del Caño won a seat as the front finished third with 14 percent of the national congressional vote. The party also won a seat in Buenos Aires province, as candidate Néstor Pitrola won a seat, and in Buenos Aires City’s legislature, with Marcelo Ramal taking five percent.
However, there was disappointment as party leader Jorge Altamira failed to win in the National Congress for Buenos Aires City, as competition from Autodeterminación y Libertad Party leader Luis Zamora divided the leftist vote. FIT won fourth place with 96,000 votes against Zamora’s party’s 64,000. It was bittersweet result for Altamira, who tried to get the popular leftist leader to align himself with his party prior to the general election, with Zamora (himself once a Lower House lawmaker) refusing.
Historically, the country’s far-left parties have been held back by their divisions, but FIT has flourished since its creation two years ago, when the Labour Party, the Socialists Workers’ Party and the Leftist Socialists joined together to stand for elected office.
In the first 2011 primaries election, just after the front’s formation, they secured 2.2 percent of the vote, allowing them to pass the 1.5 percent threshold needed to compete in the congressional elections. But in the end, they were unable to get their candidates to congress. In yesterday’s vote, the Workers’ Leftist Front finally broke the glass ceiling, winning five percent of the national vote, expanding their national presencem and, for the first time, winning seats in Congress.
The front’s first goal was to gain seats in Congress. It will seek to form a party bloc, despite now being a small one, composed of just a few lawmakers.
FIT provincial candidate Miryam Bregman said that those candidates who won seats would “democratically” share the duties with other list candidates who didn’t manage to win a position.