Nobody will said it but it is crystal-clear – an agreement between Mauricio Macri and Horacio Rodríguez Larreta in the City of Buenos Aires has been struck for the PASO primaries.
Rodríguez Larreta, the current City mayor and opposition presidential hopeful, confirmed Thursday that the opposition PRO party will be presenting a single mayoral candidate in the PASO primaries.
Speaking at a press conference announcing that families who do not send their children to school would be stripped of their social plans, the mayor affirmed: "We are heading to the City PASO primaries with a single PRO [mayoral] candidate."
The news confirms earlier reports this week detailing continued pressure from the former president. Mauricio Macri would prefer his cousin, Jorge Macri, to be the only City Hall candidate in the primaries, a decision that will extinguish the hopes of Soledad Acuña (City education minister) and Fernán Quirós (City health minister).
A close aide of Rodríguez Larreta recognised to Perfil that the operation began when Macri announced his exit from the presidential race.
Previously Rodríguez Larreta had dodged favouring either Acuña or Quirós or Jorge Macri while indicating that "PRO candidates will have priority."
"I believe in the PASO primaries as the people’s choice with a preference for the candidates of my party, both in the capital and nationwide," the City mayor proposed.
"To compete we are going to have a single PRO [mayoral] candidate – that is our decision. In the next few weeks we will evaluate the electoral choice in order to be able to guarantee the continuity of the work begun by Mauricio Macri and which I have been continuing for some years," he explained.
Amid speculation and after appearing recently alongside another hopeful, Radical Senator Martín Lousteau, Rodríguez Larreta affirmed: "I’m going to give priority to PRO, right now we have three of us running and we are going to start work immediately to define the candidate."
Acuña, who was present at the press conference, laughingly added that there were hopefuls in both genders, mocking a grammatical error.
Macri has insisted in public on his cousin’s candidacy, a campaign joined by PRO chair and presidential hopeful Patricia Bullrich.
From the Rodríguez Larreta camp, via La Red radio station, former culture minister Pablo Avelluto chimed in last Monday: "Jorge Macri represents continuity, I prefer that option."
The deal between Macri and Rodríguez Larreta has provoked the public annoyance of Civic Coalition leader Elisa Carrió who warned that if her favourite, Quirós, was dumped, her coalition wing would confront PRO and the Radicals.
The latter have already confirmed Lousteau, who narrrowly lost the 2015 mayoral race, will face off against Jorge Macri in the PASO primaries.
Consulted as to her electoral intentions, Acuña ratified her decision to represent PRO against the Radicals and the Civic Coalition in the primary while affirming that no single name is more important than all of them together.
"We continue working for the City with time running short, none of us is more important than all of us together but we are going to prioritise a single candidate for the primaries, to be defined further down the road," maintained the minister.