Mauricio Macri has told his allies in the opposition Juntos por el Cambio coalition that they must remain united, no matter who leads the party into next year’s presidential election.
At a heavily orchestrated event at the La Rural exhibition centre in Palermo on Monday evening, the former 2015-2019 president unveiled his latest book, Para Qué, a follow-up to his 2019 bestseller Primer Tiempo. Most of the leading lights of the opposition coalition turned out in support at the event, during which Macri did not reveal if he would run for nation’s highest office again, ensuring that speculation over a potential candidacy will continue.
The PRO leader did, however, tell his allies that they need to remain “close together” in the run-up to next year’s election and remember what the coalition stands for.
"We are the change or we are nothing," declared Macri during an onstage interview, which was hosted by the co-writer of his last two books, former Culture minister Pablo Avelluto.
Voicing fierce criticism of President Alberto Fernández’s government and its stewardship of the economy, Macri accused the Peronist administration of running the country into the ground and “leaving a worse bomb than in 2015,” when he took office. He called for unity to ensure a change in government next time out.
“We need to be compact, very close together,” the PRO leader told those gathered.
During the interview, Macri reflected on his time in office, attacked “cynical progressive discourse” and said that he was sure the opposition coalition would win back the Casa Rosada.
"When you are in power you have to be very careful, because the line between manipulating and lying is very thin. He who leads is alone, he has to be resilient and he has to stand up," he said.
"Enough of stealing the future from the people," insisted Macri, emboldened by the applause of those gathered. “We’ll be back, we’ll be back!”
Macri’s arrival at the event had been preceded by those of his coalition allies, with all the leading 2023 presidential frontrunners in attendance. Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, PRO party leader Patricia Bullrich, former Buenos Aires Province Governor María Eugenia Vidal were among those who walked the red carpet and did their best to avoid questions about their own intentions.
The former president was accompanied by his wife, Juliana Awada, and his youngest daughter, Antonia, to the event. Party activists were gathered at fences outside the exhibition centre, chanting and urging Macri to run next year.
Quizzed on the red carpet about the former president potentially returning to the front-line, Bullrich said only he could decide.
"Mauricio's role in 2023 is up to him to decide. The last time he said that he was not yet registered for the PASO [primaries] but he will surely fulfil the role of adviser so as not to stumble over the same stone," said the former security minister, who confessed she had not yet read Para Qué in its entirety.
Bullrich, who is on the right of the coalition, once again reiterated her own intention to run. "I am preparing myself thoroughly. I am going to make profound changes in the country,” she declared.
The PRO leader is likely to face a crowded opposition field that will include both Vidal and Rodríguez Larreta from PRO and at least one candidate from the Radical Civic Union, Facundo Manes.