Buenos Aires Province Security Minister Sergio Berni has strayed from his portfolio’s brief to accuse "many mayors" from the ruling Peronist coalition of collaborating with libertarian presidential hopeful Javier Milei.
Berni, 61, appeared to confirm widespread rumours that sectors of the Unión por la Patria coalition and Milei’s La Libertad Avanza party had worked together in the lead-up to this month’s PASO primaries, which the libertarian won.
According to Berni, ruling coalition mayors in Buenos Aires Province collaborated on the "assembling the lists for Milei and taking good care of his ballots" in the August 13 election.
"Many mayors drew up the lists for Milei, let’s tell it like it is," underlined the provincial minister in an interview with the C5N news channel.
Berni also extended his accusation to the Juntos por el Cambio opposition.
"Many of our mayors and also of the opposition abused Milei’s lack of capacity and political structure, above all in our province, to tell him: ‘We’ll give you your municipal councillors and look after your ballots for you,’ and that’s how what happened happened," he explained.
As if his comments were not controversial enough, Berni added: "There is nothing easier to sell than a local legislative candidacy and they know it. Does anybody have any doubts about it?"
Milei’s party has previously been accused by some media outlets of ‘selling’ slots on his lists for lawmakers and councillors in exchange for cash payments in dollars.
Consulted as to whether that situation would be repeated in the general elections on October 22, Berni responded by replying: "Now it seems to me that they will not be looking after the ballots again."
Finally, he defined Milei as "a confessed latter-day Menemist," although explaining that, as he understood it, "he had nothing to do with what happened in the Conurbano [Greater Buenos Aires]," alluding to the looting of supermarkets and shops.