Radical pressures for the presidential ticket to be completed by a member of their venerable party, founded almost 130 years ago, led to a meeting being called for last Monday but it was postponed due to “scheduling issues,” according to Mendoza Governor and Radical party chairman Alfredo Cornejo.
Last month the UCR (Radical) party was split wide open in its traditional stronghold of Córdoba province amid tensions leading to their continuation in the ruling Cambiemos (Let’s Change) coalition where they are the strongest partner of Macri’s PRO.
According to Cornejo, Peña and Jujuy Radical Governor Gerardo Morales had made progress towards overcoming the tensions but a Radical presence on the presidential ticket was a crucial factor. Frigerio told reporters that the government was “open” on the issue.
The Radicals are also pressing for other gubernatorial and legislative candidacies, especially since Peña and others insist on single lists being defined in advance rather than these questions being left to the PASO primaries to decide.
One Radical voice urging open Cambiemos primaries is deputy Martín Lousteau (Evolution-City): “There shouldn’t be any fear about competing in a primaries race. It’s strange that someone would suggest that winning depends on them not being challenged, right?” he told La Nación.
With clouds of tension building over the Cambiemos (Let’s Change) alliance, some observers say the coalition’s dominant party, President Macri’s PRO, would be wise to cede the running-mate spot to a Radical.
However, only PRO party names have dominated rumours, with names like Security Minister Patricia Bullrich and Health and Social Development Minister Carolina Stanley appearing as frontrunners alongside current veep Gabriela Michetti.
The running-mate position should be given to a woman, according to Macri’s political guru Jaime Durán Barba. Bullrich and Stanley are two of the names being heavily considered, Perfil reported last weekend.
Meanwhile, sources close to the president told La Nación this week that Michetti remains Macri’s preference.
Michetti enjoys a positive public image and has won every election she has contested: as Macri’s deputy mayor running-mate in the City of Buenos Aires, the 2009 mid-terms as the leading PRO candidate for the Lower House, and in the 2013 mid-terms as a Cambiemos (Let’s Change) senator. Her only loss was against current BA City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta in a primary race in 2015, in which Macri and Peña openly threw their weight behind Rodríguez Larreta.
Other names reportedly being tested, both publicly and privately, include Peña, Frigerio and Transport Minister Guillermo Dietrich. In the event any one of these men were chosen, it would be the first time in the history of Macri’s political career that he has run alongside a male running-mate.