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ARGENTINA | 04-05-2019 10:03

Macri plans outreach to Peronism with view to expanding coalition

Radicals enthusiastic about opening up Cambiemos – but Lavagna doesn’t seem keen

President Mauricio Macri yesterday confirmed the previous day’s reports of outreach to moderate Peronism on the basis of 10 consensus points with a view to broadening his Cambiemos (Let’s Change) coalition, pledging a personal involvement to seal the necessary agreements.

Speaking yesterday at the inauguration of an oil pipeline in Neuquén, he said: “I’ve invited everybody to sign consensus agreements over basic things which we’re going to respect and which other countries did a long time ago,” appealing for “generosity” from opposition leaders. He gave the advances of Vaca Muerta shale in the Patagonian province as one positive example of what might be achieved with agreement over basics, adding that when he first came to power, Argentine imported energy with frequent power cuts.

“This is a key year for the country, in which we w i l l d e f i n e whether we have 2 5 y e a r s o f growth ahead of us or whether we sink back into darkness and confrontation".

Macri’s Radical allies expressed enthusiasm over the idea of broadening Cambiemos with talk of their seceding from the ruling convention at their party convention at the end of this month receding. They only asked that presid e n t i a l dark horse R o b e r t o Lavagna be added to t h e list of established leaders of moderate Peronism to be included in the consensus.

But Lavagna’s reaction was to rubbish the 10 points yesterday. “Consensus” was a nice word, the former economy minister said, but “consensus over more of the same is pointless” if the 10 points did not cover such problems as high interest rates or offer solutions to the seven million jobless or underemployed. The focus had to be production, he insisted.

Lavagna implied that antiKirchnerite Peronists would be better off teaming up with him rather than Macri although he has yet to confirm his candidacy.

The 10 points proposed as the basis for consensus were: 1) A balanced budget 2) An independent Central Bank with fighting inflation as its top priority 3) Greater integration with the world, seeking export-led growth 4) Respect for the rule of law as basic to investments 5) Job creation via modernised labour laws 6) Cutting the tax burden at national, provincial and municipal level. 7) Consolidating a sustainable pension system 8) Consolidating federalism, based on clear rules, 9) Reliable, professional and independent statistics. 10) Honouring obligations to creditors.

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