Javier Milei and Patricia Bullrich
The incipient pact between Javier Milei and Patricia Bullrich, signed exactly a week ago, began to stumble. The former rivals of the PASO and the Generals allied themselves in record time and caused an earthquake in both spaces. Thus, in the first seven days, the convergence between their teams was far from running smoothly.
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This lack of coordination caused certain resentments and suspicions, to the point that the repeated appearances of Mauricio Macri and Bullrich on different TV signals in recent days were considered excessive by the libertarians, who asked the representatives of the libertarian wing PRO hawks to lower the level of exposure until the runoff and warned them that they do not need other yellow leaders to come out to support them. The call to attention to Macrismo was in good terms, but concrete, they revealed in LLA.
The PRO confirmed the request, which occurred in parallel with the meeting between Milei’s advisors, Guillermo Francos, Guillermo Ferraro and Sandra Pettovello – who would go, respectively, to Interior, Infrastructure and Human Capital -; and the two envoys of Bullrich and Macri, Paula Bertol, in charge of taking care of the votes for the former Minister of Security; and the friend of the former president, José Torello – whose presence caused noise in the bullrichismo -, to begin coordinating the inspection operation.
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“Enough is enough, too much is not good for us,” said a senior libertarian leader, annoyed to see that the main leaders of the PRO were placed in the center of the political scene and left the libertarians to the side, somewhat overshadowed. But, in addition to looking over the dividing wall, he criticized his own: “Equally, if we cannot achieve that centrality, surely we are doing something wrong and we will have to review it.”
“Macri’s people are not going to talk anymore. That is what we hope and ask of you. It doesn’t suit us, Macri takes away votes from us,” they added, worried about the moderate voters who in the General Elections voted for Juan Schiaretti, on the left, and even for Bullrich and now, although they do not want to vote for Massa, they doubt Milei and could turn to the blank vote.
Macri and Milei
The Macri administration did not take the message wrong and told them that they will heed the request. Even several leaders who are uncomfortable with the alliance breathed a sigh of relief. “Almost no one wants to go out and bank Milei, so they are doing us a favor,” said a reference from the first hour of the Bullrich scene.
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The hawks are paying dearly in their political, but also personal, environments for the cost of allying themselves with a disruptive candidate who has in his ranks leaders who question feminism, the LGBT community, who incite the theory of the two demons, who raised the breaking of relations with the Vatican and harshly criticized Pope Francis, or trumpeted the advantages of arms sales. They “swallowed the frog” in pursuit of “ending the decadence” that, according to them, Kirchnerism represents, although in a new version, with Sergio Massa as leader. With the aggravating factor, they maintain, that the Tigrense is “much more alive” than “the kids from La Cámpora” and that if he wins, with his acuity for political threads, he will have a good chance of staying in office “for 20 years.” .
Cornered and forced to “opt” – they highlight the difference with “choose” – the Macrista ranks also insist that collaboration will be limited to oversight, and warn that they will not provide financial resources. “We are going to pass the forms to our volunteers, and to the prosecutors we pay. They had 18 thousand, we can give them 100,000. But it’s not going to happen beyond that. They do the collection, it would be inappropriate for us to ask for a campaign that is not ours,” they maintain in the PRO.
Beyond the public meeting between the bishops of the political forces, there are contacts behind the scenes. Milei and Bullrich’s main campaign advisors, Santiago Caputo and Diego “Derek” Hampton, got on the same page last week, although LLA assures that they did not and will not coordinate proselytizing actions.
The contact was natural. They have been friends for 15 years and worked together on several projects, including Macri’s campaign between 2011 and 2015. They met in Washington, when Hampton was studying at The George Washington University; They worked with the consultant Jaime Durán Barba; and they shared several political consulting projects for candidates from other Latin American countries after distancing themselves from the Ecuadorian “guru,” although in LLA they assure that they did not have a private partnership together.
The candidate for president and winner of the first round in the presidential elections, Sergio Massa (EFE)
They came into contact outside their personal relationship after the pact between PRO and LLA to “make themselves available” in the changed political context, which united their paths again. But libertarians insist that there will be no joint campaign. “We like Patricia’s unconditional support. No matter how many differences there are, all of us want Argentina to maintain this course of work to keep us away from decadence,” said one of the main libertarian advisors. But they want to manage the campaign without interference and denied that the criticism of the Government for the lack of gasoline from Milei and Bullrich, on Saturday, from two different service stations, was coordinated. “This is not quantum science, criticizing Massa for gasoline is common sense,” they argued.
The demand for the presentation of the brief campaign, which ends in just over two weeks, is added to the agreement, sealed verbally in Macri’s house, to avoid talking about charges or an eventual co-government. And both Macri and Bullrich, as well as Milei and his designated spokespersons, respected him. However, in both camps they admit, very quietly, that if they beat Massa it is obvious that they will share the State’s loot. In the PRO they talk about distributing two important ministries for each referent: two for “Mauricio” -one of them Justice-, two for “Javier” -“Economy and Interior are non-negotiable”- and two for “Patricia”, -Security and Defense -, while the Foreign Ministry and Infrastructure would be negotiated. This scheme would cause serious noise with Milei’s running mate, Victoria Villarruel, who had been promised control of three of those areas. Libertarians are dedicated to strictly denying these projections. “The support is unconditional,” they repeat, to calm things down internally.