One day after the announcement of the Mauricio Macri-Miguel Ángel Pichetto ticket surprised the political world, a rival duo emerged – former Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna and outgoing Salta Governor Juan Manuel Urtubey agreed to team up and compete under the label of Federal Consensus 2030 (until then Lavagna had branded his presidential bid as Consensus 19).
The deal was sealed just hours before the deadline for registering fronts expired at midnight on Wednesday although there has been dialogue between the two men throughout the year..
“The creation of a third way is a reality,” announced the two leaders as they faced the press.
This third way now faces an uphill battle against the extreme polarisation between Macri and the Alberto Fernández-Cristina Fernández ticket but that is not how the new couple sees it.
"The majority of Argentines need and claim an electoral space as an option overcoming (the polarisation) which permits them to start on a path of growth, social justice and unity to emerge from the tremendous crisis which is affecting our industries, our small and medium-sized companies (pymes) and fundamentally the people. At times when personal projects outweigh convictions, it is more necessary than ever to have generous and democratic attitudes up to the circumstances. Federal Consensus proposes a path of transformation which Argentina and the welfare of its inhabitants imperiously need, leaving behind, for once and for all, the grieta rift which has caused so much harm," the statement accompanying their agreement reads.
Only a week previously Urtubey had been mentioned as a strong candidate to be Macri’s running-mate should the ruling Cambiemos coalition make a strategic decision to expand and add a Peronist wing. But Tuesday’s choice of Pichetto completed the disintegration of the Alternativa Federal grouping of anti-Kirchnerite Peronists following the prolonged holidays of Córdoba Governor Juan Schiaretti and Renewal Front leader Sergio Massa’s apparent desertion to Kirchnerism, thus leaving an isolated Urtubey little other choice.
While Lavagna chiefly owes his prestige to being the economy minister from 2002 to 2005 during the country’s recovery from its 2001-2 meltdown, he also has experience as a presidential candidate under his belt. In 2007 he was the surprise choice of an ailing Radical party, finishing in third place with 17 percent of the vote (3.2 million votes) and winning Córdoba (the only province other than San Luis not falling to Cristina Kirchner).