Macri, Cristina 'neck and neck' to win October elections, says Durán Barba
Jaime Durán Barba denies the government's inner circle is considering the Governor of Buenos Aires, María Eugenia Vidal, to replace Macri as the presidential candidate if Macri's poll numbers fail to improve.
President Mauricio Macri's unofficial political strategist, Jaime Durán Barba, predicts Macri and former president, Senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner will compete "neck and neck" to win the presidential race in October.
"I don't see a third candidate with any real chances. Not even close", Durán Barba told Jorge Fonteveccha in an interview published in Perfil.
"Cristina Fernández is a person with merit, with leadership, despite not being a person I would vote for. But she knows how to express herself and communicate sentiment", the political guru said.
Fernández de Kirchner "has the possibility of communicating and running a very good campaign, no doubt about it", he added.
He denied the government's inner circle was considering the Governor of Buenos Aires, María Eugenia Vidal, to replace Macri as the presidential candidate if Macri's poll numbers fail to improve.
On Vidal and Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta's popularity, Durán Barba warned: "There is a key point: They do not have to fix the economic problems of the people. If Macri did not have this responsibility, he would poll marvellously well.
"The people recognise that he (Macri) has fought drug trafficking, crime, which is fine. But his main responsibility is to address the economic problems of the people".
"This has gotten more intense with Macri, too, in the last year. Macri's supporters were much more moderate: 'Yeah, he's not a bad guy'. In the last year, given the anger (over the economy), a large portion of people became fanatical, too. It's Macri or Macri because otherwise, everything will go to hell."
He described the polarisation between Kirchner and Macri supporters as akin to "a neighbourhood fist fight".
"When you fight with your neighbour and you give him a smack because he supports Cristina, you become a fanatic of Macri, even if it's a little argument.
"Political dynamics have to do with voters not so much with the leaders themselves".
Durán Barba claimed Kirchner supporters "want a society free of the basic tenants of democracy: press freedom, the separation of powers, the respect of human rights. They don't want that. This is the society of intimidation, of threats".