Secular-religious tension mars Buenos Aires Jewish community vote

BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — AMIA, the Jewish community center of Buenos Aires, failed to form a new government due to tension between the religious and secular sectors.

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For the first time in its 117-year history, the AMIA, Argentina’s main Jewish community organization, reportedly has failed to form a new government after elections. A new electoral process reportedly will have to be created in order to solve the impasse.

A special assembly on March 29 decided to call for a new election in April 2013, assuming the failure of the 2011 electoral process.

In April 2011, a record number of 10,757 Buenos Aires AMIA members voted to choose a new administration led by the Religious United Front, with 4,360 votes, or 41 percent of the vote, followed by Plural Action with 3,830 votes, or 35 percent of the vote. Next were the Community Front with 20 percent and the Lajad bloc with 3 percent.

Since no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, the participating parties were called upon to negotiate a coalition to name a candidate to replace President Guillermo Borger, from the Religious United Front.

The Religious United Front and Plural Action have opposing views on core issues such as conversion, mixed marriage and the type of Jewish education that AMIA must support.

Twelve month of negotiations, tension and accusations between secular and religious groups ended March 29 in an unprecedented situation solved by a call for new elections.

AMIA has always chosen its leaders by democratic vote, even when Argentina was not a democracy and was ruled by military dictatorships.
 

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