Former president Mauricio Macri has asked City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta to avoid "unnecessary primaries" in the Juntos por el Cambio opposition coalition, while reiterating his opinion that former Buenos Aires Province governor María Eugenia Vidal should run for Congress this year in that district.
"Horacio is very well positioned for 2023 but first he must go out and play in 2021,″ warned the former head of state, who also harshly criticised the Alberto Fernández administration by saying: "No pandemic justifies trampling on freedom."
Speaking to the Radio Rivadavia programme Alguien tiene que decirlo (“Somebody has to say it”), hosted by Eduardo Feinmann, Macri described this year’s PASO primaries and midterms as the "most important" elections since 1983, claiming the votes would "decide whether there is to be democracy or if we are heading towards a system of concentrated power."
In the midst of fierce tussles over drawing up lists of candidates, the ex-president expressed the hope that Juntos por el Cambio "avoids unnecessary primaries because we should understand that the important thing is the team, not the players."
Macri also urged ex-governor Vidal to run for a post as deputy in the Province not the City of Buenos Aires because "she could make an enormous difference in the Province."
Specifically consulted as to whether he himself might be a candidate in the City, Macri responded: "The only important thing for me in this election, the most important since the return of democracy, is that Juntos por el Cambio is compact and standing tall to defend democracy. It cannot be about anything personal, I’m going to help out, the most important thing is the team. It’s not necessary [running in the Capital[, something like that should never be necessary, it would be a failure as an inability to dialogue. We’re hoping for a consensus list, otherwise it’s up to the PASO primaries."
The latter point was where he most saw a 2021 role for Rodríguez Larreta. "He has to achieve a consensus to avoid the PASO primaries and if he cannot, he should help to make the PASO primaries constructive, that is the road we have to follow together," said the former president.
Meanwhile, Macri criticised the government positions on Venezuela and Nicaragua, considering that Argentina has “a government which defends what is happening in Venezuela or does not condemn it. They are clearly demonstrating that it is a model which seems reasonable to them."
"I would have done the same as almost all the Organisation of American States (OAS) countries with Nicaragua or the Group of Lima with Venezuela: condemn them," he indicated on being consulted as to what his government’s stance would have been.
"The government of Alberto and Cristina turns a blind eye when it suits them, not saying anything about what is happening in [the provinces of] Formosa or Santiago del Estero where human rights are clearly being violated," he told Radio Rivadavia.
Turning to vaccination, Macri concluded: "If we had vaccinated like Chile, we would have at least 30,000 less people dead."
"In terms of education, having so many months of classes lost to children is something we are not going to be able to recover from in at least 10 years. All very irresponsible," added the ex-president.
Key members from the opposition coalition – including Macri, Rodríguez Larreta, Vidal, PRO party leader Patricia Bullrich and UCR chief Alfredo Cornejo – will meet today at 6.30pm in Palermo to discuss the electoral front's future and likely slate of candidates.