With just nine days remaining for parties and coalition to confirm their candidacies for this year's national elections, the Alternativa Federal ("Federal Alternative") alliance, comprised of dissident Peronists and smaller political parties, looks closer than even to disintegrating.
Its star founding member Sergio Massa is rumoured to be considering joining Alberto Fernández and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in what could be described as the Kirchnerite ticket for the presidency.
The scenario has left Alternativa Federal candidates – as well as former members such as Robert Lavagna – in a difficult position, with observers suggesting former president Fernández de Kirchner's decision to accompany her ex-Cabinet chief on the ticket as a vice-presidential candidate has drawn her closer to the same voters they have been courting.
Alternativa Federal member, Governor of Salta Juan Manuel Urtubey, and preisdential hopeful Lavagna are reportedly in talks to salvage the so-called "third option" campaign, media reports that emerged Wednesday said.
"I will not abandon my presidential candidacy. We are the true third option," Lavagna told reporters on Saturday.
Despite the uncertainty, the grouping was bolstered by a solid win in provincial elections last month for one of its key members, Governor of Córdoba Province Juan Schiaretti.
The make-up of potential tickets for the upcoming PASO primaries are far from resolved. However, little information is emerging at present, given the behind-the-scenes nature of negotiations and the level of secrecy candidates have deployed to keep talks out of the media.
On Sunday, the incumbent governor of San Juan Province, Sergio Uñac, called on both Massa and Lavagna to line up against Alberto Fernández in a primaries race aimed at "broadening" Peronist unity and block President Mauricio Macri's bid for re-election.
"I feel I have the responsibility to call on different sectors [of the Peronist movement] to hold a dialogue about creating a broader coalition of Peronists. I would be interested in a primaries contest between Alberto Fernández, Sergio Massa and Roberto Lavagna," he declared.