Tuesday, July 23, 2024

ARGENTINA | 27-07-2023 15:11

Grabois-Massa internal battle is on as Rodríguez Larreta plays both sides in the city

As internal tensions within Juntos por el Cambio rage on, bickering between Grabois and Massa ramps up. Meanwhile, Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta insists he is supporting Jorge Macri, but is also seen with Martín Lousteau.

The criticism that Juan Grabois has previously directed towards Sergio Massa seemed to have reached a plateau. Four weeks ago, the lawyer and social leader declared that if he lost the Unión por la Patria election campaign, he would support the person he had previously referred to as a "non-functioning official" and "shameless, unpatriotic, and dishonest" earlier this year. However, after minister's appearance at the La Rural exhibition centre, along with other pre-candidates such as Juan Schiaretti, Patricia Bullrich, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, and Javier Milei, Grabois accused him of going there to "take an exam" and "feast with the oligarchy masters" who "have worked against the great homeland."

Within Massa's ranks, strong responses were aimed and fired at the representative of Frente Patria Grande. Sebastián Galmarini, the director of Banco Provincia and the official's brother-in-law, accused him of working to ensure Juntos por el Cambio's victory. "You are within your rights, but everyone should know it. You have no chance of winning: neither the PASÓ, much less the general election," he declared of Grabois.

Walter Martello, the interim ENRE energy regulator, took a sharper tone and accused Grabois of "maintaining the status quo of poverty."

"The problem, Juan, is that while you accuse others of feasting with the left hand, with the right hand, you receive over 300 million pesos per year, according to 2022 figures, via just three cooperatives, where the members hardly feast – they barely get by despite having so many resources," he fired back.

The campaign, in which Massa has the support of the majority of the ruling Unión por la Patria coalition, began to entangle itself with taunts and below-the-belt attacks after days of discursive tirades between Bullrich and Rodríguez Larreta in in JxC. 'We also have internal divisions here,' pan-Peronism seems to be saying.

For days, however, a new debate has arisen about the number of votes that Grabois could win and, in that case, trim off Massa's support in the primaries, where the former mayor of Tigre seeks to be the most voted for candidate. A special report from the consulting firm Opinaia in July stated: "The majority of those who previously voted for these candidates (NdR: Eduardo 'Wado' de Pedro and Daniel Scioli) are now leaning towards Massa. However, the voters of Axel Kicillof seem not to be so convinced yet and prefer to opt for Grabois."

According to the poll, Massa would capture 70 percent of the votes that would've gone to De Pedro and 72 percent of those of 'El Pichichi' Scioli, but only 34 percent of those from the Buenos Aires Province governor. In the latter scenario, Grabois would secure 41 percent.

Regardless of how their voters may interpret, Kicillof seems to be clear that the most viable path for the ruling party is to follow the leader of the Frente Renovador. "We have the next President of the Nation with us," he said together with the economy minister at an event in Merlo seven days ago. 48 hours later, he showed up with Grabois in Berisso, but did not raise his hand as he did with Massa. Gestures speak volumes.

Another decisive election will be the one that Juntos por el Cambio will have in the dispute between Jorge Macri and Martín Lousteau for the position of Chief of Government that currently is headed by Horacio Rodríguez Larreta. 

This Tuesday, July 25, as the electoral clock ticked away, Macri asked Rodríguez Larreta for more explicit support, considering that both belong to the PRO. "Patricia has been very emphatic in her support for me, Mauricio too, and María Eugenia is backing me. Horacio does it his way, I would like him to be more emphatic in supporting me, but it is secondary," he said in an interview with Modo Fontevecchia on Radio Perfil.

As if it were a twist of fate, in the evening, the Chief of Government appeared together with the radical candidate, Lousteau, at the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) in front of 900 students, graduates, and teachers. ""Horacio and I have been working together for many years to continue transforming the city," said the Senator from Evolución Radical, while he was listened to by the deputies Emiliano Yacobitti and Martín Tetaz. In addition to being an unconditional ally of Lousteau, Yacobitti, is also the vice-rector of UBA, where there is a large ucerreista militancy. 

Larreta is seen with both candidates during their respective campaigns in Buenos Aires. It seems that he is providing support at two levels, even though he claims to have a stronger preference for the PRO candidate.



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