Jorge Macri is looking calm, having just come from multiple meetings gathering initiatives with which to press ahead as from December. From a housing solution that intends to place young students in family homes – a model used in the United States and Europe to rent out rooms – to three weekly chats about governance with the main cities of the world.
Within that framework, Juntos por el Cambio mayoral candidate Jorge Macri received Perfil at his Nuñez bunker, just one block away from the Obras Sanitarias waterworks. He laughs when spoken of as the “Macri negro” and highlights that a new stage of territorial strength is on the way for his coalition.
The candidate is preparing for three campaign closures: on Tuesday the South Side, on Wednesday the West Side (where he was planning to insist on the Ferrocarril Sarmiento rail underpass, between Caballito and Liniers) and Thursday in the north, where he is to speak on amending the Urban Code to prevent the construction of high rises in any neighbourhood.
Will there be a run-off at national level or could some candidate win it in the first round?
There will be a run-off whatever happens and I’m sure Patricia [Bullrich] will be in it, I see it on the street and in the people. The week will be very important. That second debate already marked an important breakthrough in positioning.
And could [Sergio] Massa make it into the run-off despite the dire economic data?
I don’t know. My conviction is that we need to be in the second round. If Patricia makes the run-off, she’s president for sure. For different reasons – if against Massa, the people have already turned the page on Kirchnerism and if against Milei, we can offer certainty and a different capacity to reset the country than his. That’s why I’m convinced that Patricia will be our president.
And [Buenos Aires] Province?
Normally when you win the presidency, you win the Province. But ahead of that you will have this phenomenon: Buenos Aires Province will be a fundamental pillar of Patricia’s election. That’s why it is important to have so many mayors and a good gubernatorial candidate who has been a mayor like Néstor Grindetti. We came out of the PASO primaries very well, just two points behind [Buenos Aires Province Peronist Governor Axel] Kicillof. Hopefully, we can have two winning bunkers on October 22: BA Province and City. But besides it’s not a discussion of party colours, we’re the best alternative this country could have for the Presidency with 11 governors plus the City, more than 500 mayors and the leading minority in Congress, which will give us the possibility of doing things Mauricio [Macri] couldn’t.
Is there a pact between Massa and Milei as denounced by Bullrich in the debate?
I don’t know if there is a pact but there is plenty of crossover. In the best of cases there is not much time for nationwide construction and that makes for places being occupied by people who perhaps respond to others. Whether there is a pact as such or whether Milei and his people did not realise that is pure speculation. The proximity of Milei to people like [Luis] Barrionuevo shows a dependence on traditional political mechanisms which will not give him the liberty he pretends or says he has.
Shouldn’t Mauricio Macri have been more emphatic in his support for Bullrich?
[Raises his voice] But if he was always being reproached for supporting Patricia against Horacio [Rodríguez Larreta]. It’s as if he was always getting it wrong. That’s the role of journalism, it doesn’t annoy me. But he was always very clear about his commitment to PRO and Juntos por el Cambio. He accompanied the internal competition with great respect as well as talking to Patricia all the time. We’re transforming minor details into big stories when they are not.
So wasn’t it a bit of cheek, then, that Milei offered him a post?
That demonstrates Mauricio’s relevance. Nobody would want to grab Alberto [Fernández] nor Cristina [Fernández de Kirchner], I would almost say today.
Will there be an effect [from the scandal of Martín] Insaurralde?
I think that will have an electoral impact beyond doubt, those are issues which enter into daily conversation like the ‘VIP vaccination’ or the Olivos parties [during the Covid-19 pandemic]. Not all Frente para la Victoria voters have lowered their expectations so much as to take such things naturally or forget them quickly. I’d expect it to be an important blow, not only electorally but also socially.
Do you imagine yourself winning in the first round in the City?
Historically that’s difficult but the number of people who participated in the PASO primaries and the weight they gave to our administration of the City makes me think that we have some chance of pulling it off. If not, a run-off, which would not be so serious except that I would like to save us the money for another election plus having an extra month to prepare my teams.
If a run-off, with whom would you imagine it: [libertarian] Ramiro Marra or Leandro Santoro [for the national government]?
It’s the same to me. One competes to talk to and seduce the people, not describe your rivals. Kirchnerism is trying to have its chance in the City and I clearly want to put a stop to that. And Santoro is Kirchnerism, he’s Massa, he’s Cristina and he’s very Alberto – everything I don’t want for the City.
Why is there still no photo with [primary rival Senator] Martín Lousteau?
We were together in the run-up to the [October 8] debate and he was campaigning. His people are working with me. It simply didn’t work out. He’s also joining candidates inland. He’s a natíonal reference point. We’re working on the reform of the Urban Code and the mental health law, among other things. I feel very comfortable with everybody in Juntos por el Cambio.