Federico Angelini, Maximiliano Ferraro and Miguel Angel Pichetto listen to Gerardo Morales, who, from the stairs, announces that he will speak alone before the press (Photo: Nicolás Stulberg)
The issue that has the opposition in suspense deserved this Monday 8 minutes of debate between the heads of the Together for Change parties. In those 480 seconds they discussed the incorporation of Juan Schiaretti and José Luis Espert into the coalition. Due to the differences they had to go to an intermediate quarter. They couldn’t even share a press conference. It was not a good Monday for JxC.
The lack of results from the meeting between Federico Angelini (PRO), Gerardo Morales (UCR), Maximiliano Ferraro (Civic Coalition) and Miguel Angel Pichetto (Federal Republican Meeting) left the opposition leadership in a state of shock. How will they continue now? Can the talks resume if there is not a minimum agreement on how to preserve unity? For the “hawks” of the PRO, those who promote the entry of Schiaretti want to “break” Together for Change. For those in favor of expanding the coalition, the hard wing of the PRO holds the rest of the JxC members “hostage” because it has not made a decision on Espert for a month, a less controversial point than the other.
The tension led to an escalation of harsh statements, especially from Morales and Patricia Bullrich, which will surely continue this Tuesday when Mauricio Macri visits Córdoba: he will speak at 8 o’clock on a local radio station, at noon he will give a speech at the Stock Exchange and At 6:30 p.m., he will present his latest book in the Alto Botánico room. He will appear with Luis Juez, the JxC candidate for provincial governor who urgently traveled to the city of Buenos Aires 24 hours ago to ask the heads of the opposition coalition that he considers the incorporation of Schiaretti serious and inexplicable.
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Mauricio Macri will be shown with Luis Juez in Córdoba
Macri got fully involved in this conflict. He was part of the bullrichista strategy and in the last hours he was in contact with the presidential candidate and Angelini to analyze the new scenario in Together for Change: they listened to the report of the head of the PRO and agreed to maintain his position.
On the opposite side, the operators of Horacio Rodríguez Larreta are evaluating how to ensure that the PRO does not continue “subordinate to the bullrichista campaign.” Some larretistas threaten to convene the party assembly, which requires a two-thirds vote to approve initiatives of an electoral nature such as alliances. The two sectors claim to have the majority. However, Angelini affirmed that “the Pro assembly has already met and resolved what are the mechanisms for these cases, which are resolved with the signature of the president and the party’s general secretary.” The general secretary is the larretista Eduardo Macchiavelli, secretary of Federal Projection of the Buenos Aires government.
Thus, stuck as it is the dilemma represented by Schiaretti and Espert, Together for Change must define who it will ally with before the legal term for its presentation expires on June 14. The previous understandings make a solution difficult: in April 2022 the “Agreement of Good Practices” was signed, whose point 6 establishes that “the inclusion of new parties as members of JxC must be approved unanimously by the parties that make up the National Table ”. That is to say, it is enough with the negative opinion of a member of the coalition, like the PRO in this case, for the entry of other parties to be frustrated. It is exactly what is happening today.
Federico Angelini, Gerardo Morales, Maximiliano Ferraro and Miguel Angel Pichetto, the heads of the Together for Change parties
That is why Morales proposed in yesterday’s meeting that a change in the rules of the game be debated: that these types of issues can be decided by majority. Here there are also three votes (Morales, Ferraro and Pichetto) against one (Angelini). The intransigence of the head of the PRO made his peer from the UCR beat him up at yesterday’s meeting: “But are you speaking on behalf of the entire party or just one sector?”
The difficulties in reaching a consensus on a position made each faction attribute to the other a closeness to Kirchner’s leaders. Just as Bullrich recalled that Schiaretti “voted against the City funds or the new retirement moratorium that increases the spending of retirees” and Angelini pointed to Florencio Randazzo and Diego Bossio for having been Cristina Kirchner’s officials, from Larretismo they replied with the same type of artillery: they say that Pablo Paladino, former director of Soccer for All and close to Aníbal Fernández, is Bullrich’s setter in the Third Electoral Section of the province of Buenos Aires and that Gabriel Mércuri, son of the historic Duhaldista who was president of the Buenos Aires Chamber of Deputies, is the bullrichista candidate for mayor in Lomas de Zamora.
Close to the head of government they are merciless with Macri, of whom they highlight his friendship with Schiaretti, forged in the heat of the presidential administration, but, above all, a meeting held in April at his offices in Olivos with Martín Llaryora, the candidate for governor of the schiarettismo who will compete with Luis Juez. “Is there a good Schiaretti and a bad one?”, they ironically. Waldo Wolff, the city’s public affairs secretary, used the same logic: “How is it? José Luis Espert not now, but Ricardo López Murphy in 2021, yes. Miguel Ángel Pichetto in 2015 yes, but Juan Schiaretti, now no. Joaquín De la Torre, who founded the Frente Renovador de Massa, yes, but Martín Redrado, no. Margarita Stolbizer, no, but García de Luca, who is on the block with her and left PRO, yes”.
Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, Patricia Bullrich, Juan Schiaretti and José Luis Espert
Larreta never hid his project to reach the “political consensus of 70%” to make the necessary reforms and guarantee governability in the event that he becomes president of the Nation. In their environment they maintain that just a month and a half ago the dialogue between representatives of Schiaretti and Larreta deepened: there were several meals in the house of a Larretista operator in which Florencio Randazzo and Diego Bossio participated, from the sector of the Cordovan governor, and Augusto Rodríguez Larreta, brother of the mayor of Buenos Aires. From there, there were breakfasts between the head of government with Schiaretti and Randazzo, where the idea of seeking “points of agreement” was discussed. Then followed meetings of the Cordovan president with JxC references such as Morales.
Now, the larretismo in full came out to bank its leader. “Horacio makes this call to expand not only the electoral base, but to ensure Argentines the governance necessary to undertake those transformations that are needed,” said Jorge Telerman, director of the Teatro Colón and one of the leaders Larreta listens to the most. “Schiaretti, Espert, Manes, and before López Murphy, are expressions of a JvC that has the function of expanding for development. In Argentina, to be able to govern well, you need a much broader agreement than just to win an election,” said Fernando Straface, the city’s Secretary General and International Relations.
Bullrich believes that Schiaretti’s move aims, basically, to take away his electoral support in a province like Córdoba, where he has a predicament. In the same way, he thinks that the entry of Espert is a larretista maneuver that aims to weaken it, getting hard and liberal votes from it. Even so, among her collaborators they warn that the controversy in JxC can favor her: by itself, the presidential candidate was in Mendoza this Monday in permanent contact with the radical Alfredo Cornejo, candidate for governor, and with whom they will define who will second her in the formula . Does the name of Rodolfo Suárez, the current provincial president, return to accompany her in her binomial?
Horacio Rodríguez Larreta was shown with Miguel Ángel Pichetto
Even a moderate to the extreme like Ferraro, the president of the Civic Coalition, hardened in the last hours against the attitude of the PRO for Schiaretti and Espert: “We went to an intermediate room in order to preserve unity. We ask that the PRO reflect, summon its bodies and stop having all JxC at the mercy and have an attitude of greatness and generosity”, he said. And he added: “We are going to continue betting on political friendship, unity and breadth, as we always did.”
At the end of the fleeting meeting, long faces and an atmosphere of tension dominated the National Committee of the UCR, the same party from which Raúl Alfonsín emerged: “Dialogue is never the sum of various monologues but rather presupposes a creative and imaginative attitude by each of the interlocutors”, said the former president upon taking office. Forty years later, such a dialogue is still pending to broaden the opposition coalition. And that it lasts much more than 8 minutes.
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