Wednesday, June 3, 2020

ARGENTINA | 11-05-2019 12:30

President Macri’s bid for consensus talks gets lukewarm response

I n the course of last week the government broadened its appeal for dialogue over its 10 points of governability to not only the entire political spectrum, including Kirchnerismo, but also the Church and the CGT umbrella union grouping.

But President Mauricio Macri’s newfound interest in consensus met with a frigid response from most opposition leaders, who described it as a bid to show stability amid economic crisis and slumping opinion polls with presidential dark horse Roberto Lavagna dismissing the intiative as “political speculation.”

The main opposition leaders accepting the invitation were two moderate Peronists, Salta Governor Juan Manuel Urtubey and Senate Federal Alternative caucus leader Miguel Angel Pichetto.

Renewal Front leader Sergio Massa said that the 10 points failed to include either employment or education, implying that the government not only needed to increase its guest list to roundtable discussion but also expand the agenda beyond points aimed at reassuring the markets (which include balancing the budget, boosting exports, cutting taxes and honouring the country’s debts).

Meetings with provincial governors are still very much up in the air although Córdoba’s Juan Schiaretti (a likely winner tomorrow against Macri’s locally fragmented Cambiemos coalition) is reportedly high on the list of priorities.

While Macri last week pledged his personal involvement to keep the initiative rolling, organisation of the roundtable is basically being managed by Interior Minister Rogelio Frigerio, Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña and Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta.

Lavagna (who has yet to officially confirm his presidential run) this week watered down his rejection by saying: “The quest for consensus is absolutely crucial and it must be genuine, without searching for media or electoral gain.”

Yet both Frigerio and Peña are still hoping to talk to Lavagna, according to La Nación.

Senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner does not rule out attending a meeting or so her former intelligence chief Oscar Parilli told Perfil.

According to Daniel Kerner, a Latin American specialist with Eurasia, the main aim behind the move is less to reassure investors than “to weaken opposition candidates,” especially Fernández de Kirchner on the expectation that she would not join the talks.

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