Thursday, July 18, 2024

ARGENTINA | 22-08-2023 13:09

Patricia Bullrich: ‘Some Juntos por el Cambio voters switched to Milei, but they’ll be back’

Opposition presidential candidate offers post-PASO analysis, assuring that her internal contest with Rodríguez Larreta triggered “fears” of a “split” which finally did not occur. For Bullrich, Juntos por el Cambio is the “only space” capable of providing “the governability" Argentina needs.

What is your analysis of the PASO primaries and why did Javier Milei end up with 30 percent?

We [in Juntos por el Cambio] were competing and Argentina isn’t used to that. So there was a question-mark: will they be able to get back together afterwards? That question perhaps made some people who were going to vote for Juntos por el Cambio afraid that would not happen, given that it was a contest for leadership and the kind of change we were proposing. A deep, genuine and courageous change, that was what was defined. But the context of the idea that there could be some kind of split triggered a certain fear in our voters but they are voters who will come back.


Did those voters switch to Milei or did they sit it out?

Some switched to Milei, no doubt about that.


Which scenario do you imagine today: a run-off against Milei or Sergio Massa or will Milei take it in the first round?

What we want right now is total and absolute concentration on our proposals, our force, our leadership and on the things we have to do for Argentina to have the governance needed to solve the main problems. 

For example, we have to come on strong in Santa Fe, I’m going there to support [gubernatorial candidate Maximiliano]Pullaro and [Rosario Mayor Pablo] Javkin because if they win, we will have exceptional force from our first day to hem in drug-trafficking and stop it from expanding across the country, as well as liberating the people of Rosario. Those are aspects of governance. 

Furthermore, I’m going to put on my wellies and my windbreaker and walk around Buenos Aires Province because in no way can we permit it to become a refuge for Kirchnerite officials. This time it’s not a problem of name but what Kirchnerismo represents and has represented in Argentina – draining society culturally and educationally and enslaving it. We have to put everything into winning the Province. We’re just 2.5 percent behind [Buenos Aires Province Peronist Governor Axel] Kicillof. With Néstor [Grindetti] we’re going to summon everybody: [Diego] Santilli, [Cristian] Ritondo, [Javier] Iguacel, [Joaquín] de la Torre, Maxi Abad and, of course, [provincial campaign manager Sebastián García] De Luca, everybody. We are the only ones who can guarantee a triumph in Buenos Aires Province so that Kirchnerite ideas do not keep on sprouting and so that there is no comeback. It’s a historic opportunity.


Coming back to the PASO primaries, don’t you think that the infighting with [Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez] was very harsh and conspired towards Juntos por el Cambio finishing in second place with less than 30 percent?

From the way they were operating, some leaders seemed to think that was the right place for the next government and then we came along as a “black swan.” As in a football match, when they cannot win playing fair, they play foul. That’s what happened but that’s behind us now. We’ve shown maturity and we’re all together behind the new presidential ticket.


What post would you imagine for Rodríguez Larreta?

We have made a decision: our objective right now is to win this election and it is won by talking to people about their problems, not by distributing posts. That’s not in discussion today.


Have you spoken to Milei about his attacks on you, accusing you, for example, of staging the escrache protest against him in Tigre or your husband [Guillermo Yanco, supposedly orchestrating an assault against him at last month’s AMIA bombing commemoration] and the critical communiqué from DAIA [Jewish umbrella organisation]?

I sent him a message and he never answered me, only via the media. I sent him another message on his mobile telephone congratulating him on obtaining the most votes although he did not win – only  Massa and I won because we competed whereas he did not. He did not answer that either, attacking me in public. 

He should not mess with my husband because he would not like it if I messed with his sister. My husband is not a politician. I hope that I have made it clear to him that he will not have any scope for those kinds of messages with me.


What will you do to conserve the votes which went to Rodríguez Larreta along with a sector of the Radicals and the Coalición Cívica?

That was clearly a Juntos por el Cambio vote. We’ll proceed from our vote to those who voted for other options. We are in a position to make deep shock changes quickly with the economy and crime as the two main issues. That people don’t get killed in the street and that there is no inflation – we have the capacity to guarantee those two points. We have the governors, mayors and a parliamentary force capable of working out and voting in a package of laws while repealing others.


Will Massa and the government finish third?

Massa is having to taste his own short-term medicine. I see an increasingly difficult panorama for Kirchnerismo. Juntos por el Cambio is the force capable of defeating them so that they never return again. And so that they never return, the character is Patricia Bullrich because I have already shown that I can win the battle against the narco drug-traffickers, fight the trade unions and defend farmers against 125 [the grain export duties of 2008]. People know that I never walk away from any fight.


What role will Mauricio Macri have?

We are winding up a new campaign in which we will define his role together with him.

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Ezequiel Spillman

Ezequiel Spillman

Editor de Política de Diario Perfil. Mail: [email protected]


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