Argentina’s presidential hopefuls have finished negotiating, confirmed their bookings and chosen their bunkers, defining where they will wait to receive the results of this Sunday’s PASO primaries.
For many of the hopefuls, their decision implies a bit more than simply choosing the venue. Organisers, attendants, photo-ops and image are just some of the variables that need to be sorted out.
Parties and coalitions have already settled on their bunkers, though attendances are still being debated.
The ruling Unión por la Patria coalition is still yet to define if social leader Juan Grabois will accompany the frontrunner Economy Minister Sergio Massa at their bunker. President Alberto Fernández “will not be going on stage,” government sources say.
For the opposition, Juntos por el Cambio’s choice of venue has heightened the tensions between its candidates, Patricia Bullrich and Horacio Rodríguez Larreta.
Unión por la Patria will finish the electoral day in Chacarita, at Complejo C Art Media. Their vote-tallying operation will be based at a six-storey building near the Casa Rosada. When the time comes for celebrations or admitting defeat, the coalition’s leaders will be at the Complejo C, a multipurpose cultural space that has been used on previous occasions by Kichnerism for rallies and events.
With a capacity of 4,500 people, Complejo C is expected to be filled with officials and supporters. The crucial question is whether Massa and Grabois will appear together. As of Wednesday, their operations put out different answers. Whether Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner will put in an appearance also remains unknown.
The choice for Juntos por el Cambio has been a tricky subject from the get-go. Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta wanted to share a bunker at Costa Salguero with his adversary, the place where PRO has been passing election days for years.
However, his party rival Patricia Bullrich did not jump at the chance and tensions grew. In the end, after lengthy negotiations, both sides agreed on unity and a venue at Parque Norte. With a capacity for 1,500 personas, the Golden Center is expected to be full of more activists and officials than supporters.
Those following Bullrich’s agenda believe she will arrive at the last minute, “because everyone says early results will come in around midnight.”
Libertarian hopeful Javier Milei has chosen the Hotel Libertador for August 13 and the national deputy is hoping he can once again shake things up. Yet days away from the PASO primaries, there was total uncertainty about the true extent of his support.
Frente de Izquierda y de los Trabajadores (FIT-U) did not agree on a single bunker. On the day, Myriam Bregman and Nicolás del Caño will await results at their party headquarters in San Telmo, while the pair of Gabriel Solano and Vilma Ripoll will be a few blocks away at the Torcuato Tasso.
Elsewhere, the leader of Principios y valores, former domestic trade secretary Guillermo Moreno will be at the Glasswork Workers’ Union, in Parque Chacabuco. Media celebrity Santiago Cúneo, running for Partido Laborista, will settle in central Buenos Aires.
At least one bunker is based outside Buenos Aires. The third way ticket of Juan Schiaretti and Florencio Randazzo have opted for Córdoba and the Hotel Quorum.