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Uruguay: First Woman Elected as Intendant of Montevideo

Categories: Latin America, Uruguay, Citizen Media, Elections, Politics, Women & Gender

Ana Olivera is the first woman to be elected as the Municipal Intendant [1] of Montevideo. As a member of Uruguay’s Communist Party, Olivera’s candidacy became a dividing force among supporters of the Frente Amplio (Broad Front) coalition, the party that chose her as their candidate for Montevideo and also the party the current President, José Mujica [2], belongs to. Internal politics of the Broad Front distracted many bloggers and social media users from the historic fact that Olivera is the first woman to hold this office, which is roughly equivalent to city mayor. Nevertheless, whether focusing on politics or feminist history, Uruguayans had a lot to say about Olivera and they used the web to voice their opinions.

The site 180 [es] [3] reported that 13.8% of the votes were cast as blank, making a record of blank votes. Users commenting on the article say they voted blank because they either did not like Olivera representing the Broad Front, or because they were tired of the party’s 20-year management in the capital, like user Juan [es] [4] who wrote:

Esto es muestra clara de que la gente esta recontra podrida y hay un gran descreimiento de la clase política.

This clearly shows that people are extremely tired and there is a great disbelief in the political leaders.

Ana Olivera. Image uploaded by user Marcopolo2007 to Wikimedia Commons and used under a Creative Commons license

The left-leaning Uruguayan blog Internacionalismo Militante [es] [6] explains one of the reasons behind the high percentage of blank votes.

Una explicación posible a este fenómeno en Montevideo, capital del país y principal ciudad, fue que la elección del candidato frenteamplista a la intendencia montevideana resultó equivocada ya que la base electoral del FA prefería otro candidato, el ex ministro de industria Daniel Martinez [… ]De hecho desde la elección de Ana Olivera como candidata varios grupos de militantes frenteamplistas comenzaron a propagandizar el voto en blanco.

A possible explanation for this phenomenon in Montevideo, the capital and largest city, is that the Broad Front candidate's election for Montevideo was the wrong choice, as the electoral base of the FA (Broad Front) preferred another candidate, former Industry Minister Daniel Martinez […] In fact, since Ana Olivera was selected as the candidate (for the Broad Front), several supporter groups Frenteamplistas (from the Broad Front party) began to propagandize the blank vote.

Agustín Tajes of the blog Qué Pasa Uruguay? [es] [7] takes this explanation further, analyzing the results as a lesson for the Broad Front on its electorate’s discontent with Communist ideology.

Eso es también una señal para el Frente, que a pesar de que juega a la democracia, la cúpula está dominada por quienes profesan la fe marxista leninista y sueñan -como dijo Mujica en “Pepe Coloquios”– con el hombre nuevo y una patria marxista y no han perdido las mañas fascistas para hacerse del poder, con un congreso donde se cocinaron las candidaturas de Mujica en lo nacional y de alguien del PCU en Montevideo.

This is also a signal to the Broad Front, which despite playing to democracy, the dome is dominated by those who profess the Marxist-Leninist faith and dream- just like Mujica said during his “Pepe Talks” – of the new mankind and a Marxist country and have not lost their fascist tricks to take power, with a Congress where the candidates were arranged just like Mujica on the national level and with someone from the PCU (Uruguayan Communist Party) in Montevideo.

Facebook Uruguay [es] [8], a blog showcasing Facebook groups and pages created by Uruguayans, noted this division and posted a story listing groups in favor and against Olivera’s candidacy for Montevideo. A group called I will not vote for Ana Olivera as the Municipal Intendant of Montevideo [es] changed its name to MVD: Muncipales… ¿Vos Decidiste? (Montevideo: Municipal results…Did you decide?) [es] [9] [9] after Olivera’s victory.

Two groups celebrating Olivera’s triumph are Ana Olivera, the first Female Elected Intendant in the History of Uruguay!!! [es] [10]and Ana Olivera Intendant –a Woman in the
Front [es]

Despite the majority of comments coming from supporters in the latter group, Vincent Bidegain [es] [11] wrote:

Ni enfermo voto a blancos o colorados, pero tampoco votare a Ana. Estan faltando 3 cosas: 1) Una lista de los PROBLEMAS de MVD 2) una lista de las soluciones propuestas. 3) una explicacion de por que no se hicieron en los ultimos 20 anios. // No voto a Olivera porque soy frentista a muerte. Por el FA votare en blanco o anulado.

Not even sick would I vote for blancos or colorados (the other two parties), but I won’t vote for Ana. There are three things missing: 1) A list of the problems in Montevideo 2) a list of the proposed solutions. 3) an explanations of why they haven’t been implemented in the last 20 years// I don’t vote for Olivera because I’m a life long frentista (Broad Front voter). In favor of the FA (Broad Front) I will vote blank or null.

However, others showed their support for Olivera, like Leo Carro Moroni [es] [12] who noted that it is important to recognize that she is the first woman holding this position, and reminds the group that whether they like it or not the newly elected intendant is now representing the Broad Front:

hay que valorar el hecho de que una mujer es electa por primera vez intedenta de Montevideo,y ademas una comunista,pero debe quedar claro que mas alla de la persona hay un colectivo detras,y que el sillon de la intendencia le pertenece al colectivo, es decir al FA,como todos los demas cargos pubkicos,salud Ana,salud Montevideo

we need to appreciate the fact that a woman was elected intendant of Montevideo for the first time, and in addition she is a Communist, but it should be clear that beyond the person is a group, and the intendent's chair belongs to the collective ie the FA (Broad Front), like all other public positions, cheers for Ana, cheers for Montevideo

Echoing the historical significance of her election, in the group Ana Olivera, the first Female Elected Intendant in the History of Uruguay!!! [es] [10]
Hugo Benitez [es] [13] wrote:

y dicen que no hay equidad ya era hora la postulacion de una mujer como intendente de Montevideo eso muestra que lo importyante es la capacidad y no los prejuicios

and they say there is no equality, it was about time for the candidacy of a woman as the intendant of Montevideo, that shows that what is important is capacity and not prejudice