Friday, April 3, 2020

ARGENTINA | 02-05-2019 10:59

Vidal reiterates support as Macri and Cambiemos seeks to push public works

María Eugenia Vidal denies she will challenge President Macri for their coalition's presidential ticket in this year's elections at inauguration of water plant, as government decides to emphasise opening of public works projects in the run-up to the October election.

Governor of Buenos Aires Province María Eugenía Vidal on Wednesday reiterated her support for Mauricio Macri, saying once again that he would be Cambiemos' candidate for president in the October upcoming elections.

Vidal declared her support for Macri's candidacy during the inauguration of a clean water facility in La Plata, after a troublesome week that saw two days of strikes and protests by unionised workers and a disappointing result for the Cambiemos candidate in last Sunday's primaries vote in Santa Fe province, the country's third-largest province.

There is growing speculation that the governor, who is stronger in the polls than Macri, has been urged to replace the president to avoid the Cambiemos coalition losing power. Vidal has faced questions over whether she would like the post, but she has consistently denied the rumours.

"The president and I are a team," Vidal insisted on Wednesday, setting her gaze firmly on Macri. 

"I have the guts and the heart to be here, in [Buenos Aires] province, to accompany Buenos Aires residents for the next four years and to accompany the president for the next four years," she said.

Three polls – Isonomía, Synopsis and Del Franco Consultores – last week showed Macri trailing former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in voting intentions, with margins of 0.7 to 10 percent points, Perfil reported. However, the surveys also indicated a large number of voters remained undecided.

The president would also fair poorly against former Economy minister Roberto Lavagna, polls suggest. Neither Lavagna nor Fernández de Kirchner have officially confirmed their intention to run, though they are both expected to do so.

Indicating why she believes Cambiemos have the most to offer voters, Vidal said Wednesday's inauguration was a sign of the government building for the future.

"This is not just another public works project. In my mind, it is a project that allows us to show people what are the pathways to the future, which we're debating nationally and in the province. It [the project] reflects that debate well," Vidal said.

"The pathway that the president and I propose is challenged by the cynicism of those people who, for many years, have told you during inaugurations that they care about you, using very pretty words," she charged, targeting the opposition.


The government will seek to underline its investment in public works projects in the build-up to October's election. The Macri administration is expected to oversee the inauguration of as many as 770 public works projects in the run up to the October general and presidential elections, including sewage, paving and housing projects, according a report in Perfil.

As the election season heats up, the government plans to finalise 62 hydroelectric and water sanitation projects this year, a report in BA Negocios reported this week, citing sources close to the Infrastructure and Hydroelectric Secretariat.

Another 437 road works and 24 urban renovation projects are also scheduled for completion, according to sources at the Urban Infrastructure Secretariat, which also reported the planned conclusion of 25,000 new homes, 2,650 renovations, 22,445 utility connection tasks, and 248 general infrastructure projects.

The president, however, may not be present at all inaugurations.

"In some provinces, candidates prefer that he [President Macri] does not travel to support them, given his high disapproval ratings," the same sources told the same outlet.

Macri cancelled a trip to Santa Fe province next week after his candidate for the Cambiemos (Let's Change) coalition, José Corral, polled third in Sunday's primaries race, where Socialist former governor Antonio Bonfatti and Peronist lead candidate Omar Perotti look set for a face-off in June.

Macri spent Wednesday's International Workers' Day alongside Governor of Buenos Aires province María Eugenia Vidal and Mayor of Buenos Aires Horacio Rodríguez Larreta. The trio – who will all run for re-election in October – visited Lanús where they spoke of the need to strengthen "the culture of work" in Argentina.

His appearance came after transport unions on Wednesday walked off the job in protest of lay-offs and the rising cost of living.


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