Former president Mauricio Macri has criticised former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, accusing her of having “kidnapped” the Peronist movement for more than a decade.
In his first televised interview with a major national media outlet since leaving power, the founder of the PRO party said the vice-president – who led the country for two terms as president from 2007 to 2005 – had put “irrationality” at the heart of the movement.
“Peronism has been kidnapped by Cristina Fernández de Kirchner for more than 10 years, and this signifies that it has been co-opted by irrationality," Macri told the TN news channel.
“With irrationality, you can’t work with them,” he added. "If Peronism does not resolve this problem, it is difficult to sit at a table and reach agreements with them," he added.
Macri said that Peronism would have to “succeed in separating itself from Cristina [Fernández] de Kirchner."
The former president argued that Argentines were waiting for both the government and opposition to work together, but that with things as they were, that was not possible.
“We need a rational Peronism, as was the last Perón, a person who came to build, as was Menem – there was no irrationality,” said the former head of state, who led Argentina from 2015 to 2019.
“There was no irrationality with Duhalde, no prisoners were released, the taking of private property was not encouraged," he said, referring to aborted attempts to nationalise the bankrupt agro giant Vicentin.
Targeting Fernández de Kirchner firmly in his sights, Macri accused the vice-president of having “an agenda of her own that has to do with her problems," a reference to the multiple corruption allegations in the courts.
"Today we need people to be on the streets defending the law and the judges," he said.
Macri accused his political rival of “dedicating herself” since taking office to the “persecution” of his family, citing legal allegations against him and his family’s business interests in the courts, citing the Correo Argentino case as an example.
The former president also talked about his own four-year administration, offering a little self-criticism of his own spell in power.
"I should never have delegated political negotiation and I delegated it to my most political wing, with pro-Peronists," he said.
Asked specifically if he was referring to a sector of Juntos por el Cambio represented by former interior minister Rogelio Frigerio and ex-lower house speaker Emilio Monzó, Macri replied in the affirmative.
"Yes, all that group, both in the Chamber of Deputies and with the governors,” he said.
"I should have put the focus there because clearly there was a lot at stake for Argentina,” said the opposition leader, saying consequently that his government “never sealed the agreements we needed to transform Argentina.