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OPINION AND ANALYSIS | 21-10-2022 09:06

Juntos now has more infighting within parties than between allies

Radicals and PRO showing more tension between party colleagues than alliance partners. Meetings, whether public or secret, are drawing attention.

Although Juntos por el Cambio gives a permanent image of tension and strife, the current X-ray shows the biggest crises as being more within than between the political parties forming the alliance. The Radicals and PRO, principally, have more internal differences nowadays while consolidating and oiling their links with leaders from allied parties. 

“Today the parties seem painted and that may be positive for the consolidation of Juntos por el Cambio,” recognises an opposition deputy who sees how in each legislative debate the alignments do not always go according to party discipline. The logic of ‘hawks’ and ‘doves’ (or hardliners and moderates) goes about creating affinities between leaders from different parties.

The meetings, with or without photos, between referential figures from different parties are thus also multiplied. Mauricio Macri, for example, received three Radicals and two followers of Elisa Carrió’s Civic Coalition. Organised just after Radical deputy Facundo Manes had criticised him, receiving a cataract of reproaches in return, Macri invited to dinner Corrientes Province Governor Gustavo Valdés along with the deputies Rodrigo de Loredo, Martín Tetaz, Juan Manuel López and Paula Oliveto (the former two Radical and the latter pair CC-ARI).

Within the internal discussion, Valdés is one of the Radicals pushing the Manes candidacy the hardest and he avoided joining the critique of fellow-Radicals Gerardo Morales and Martín Lousteau, among others. Nevertheless, he tuned in with Macri at the dinner, even asking him when he was going to hold a political rally in Corrientes, as the former president did in his 2019 campaign.

De Loredo, for his part, had been with Elisa Carrió the previous day in Exaltación de la Cruz, talking about local Córdoba politics, where he is a gubernatorial hopeful. Plenty of party infighting there. While De Loredo tussles with fellow-Radical Mario Negri, PRO is also divided – Macri backs the Radical while both Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and PRO chair Patricia Bullrich lean towards Senator Luis Juez.

Within PRO, the battle between Rodríguez Larreta and Bullrich and their 2023 hopes had a new chapter last week with the PRO chair criticising the bill banning evictions in low-income neighbourhoods. Many of her party’s deputies voted for this bill and City Hall minister María Migliore came out to answer her in public.

Meanwhile, Rodríguez Larreta and Bullrich seek to show off a new partner every time they can. The mayor is tightening his links with Lousteau in the City amid tensions with Jorge Macri, his party’s best-placed candidate. On October 14 he shared a panel with much empathy with Gerardo Morales, who divides his energies between trying to come off as the Radical party chairman and as a presidential hopeful. That same week he met up with Bullrich to discuss, or so they said, the programmes to be debated by their party foundations, making sure to release a photograph. Every image helps.

After having been one of those most responsible for the tensions within Juntos por el Cambio, the Jujuy governor more recently showed moderation: “What is happening in Frente de Todos serves as a lesson. Our [tensions] are logical questions over redefining future leadership and the orientation of the coalition. It has nothing to do with the structural crisis of Frente de Todos. The truth is that we are much better off than it seems at times with logical differences which do not place the coalition at risk,” he assured Radio Continental.

Meanwhile the upcoming presentation of Macri’s book Para qué next Monday at the Rural Society grounds will say plenty with the presences and absences of Juntos por el Cambio leaders. The invitations have already started to go out and a big turnout is expected although some are keener to go than others.

Deputy María Eugenia Vidal (City-Juntos por el Cambio) has affirmed that she is "preparing" her presidential candidacy for next year’s elections but has explained that this "does not come before our platform."

"I have already said in public that I would like to be president. I feel that after having governed Buenos Aires Province for four years and after having been deputy mayor under Mauricio Macri, I have been in areas where there were always emergencies and complex problems. After all that, I feel that I would like my next stop to be there," underlined Vidal. "I’m covering the entire country and preparing myself for that."

"My candidacy does not come before the platform of de Juntos por el Cambio. If I feel that I am up to competing in PASO primaries, I shall present myself, and if not, I will place everything at the disposal of having the best internal discussion," she underlined.

Within that framework the ex-governor spelled out: "The most important thing is not that María Eugenia Vidal be president next year but that Juntos por el Cambio wins the election."

"I’m convinced that no one president can pull Argentina out of this. A generation of committed leaders is needed here," she argued.

Gabriel Ziblat

Gabriel Ziblat

Editor de Política - Diario Perfil.

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