The intern of Juntos por el Cambio seems to be not coming to fruition, and the list of unity in the PASO increasingly seems more like a utopia for some of its leaders, despite the multiple meetings. On this occasion, former President Mauricio Macri received María Eugenia Vidal in Los Abrojos to convince her to run as a candidate in the Province of Buenos Aires. The answer was forceful and negative, and the dispute with Patricia Bullrich for the place in the Buenos Aires list rises as a great possibility, contrary to Macri’s wishes.

The closing of lists is far from being resolved within Juntos por el Cambio one month after the legal deadline for its presentation ends, and the discursive differences between its leaders – added to the ambitions for leadership within the party and the growth of the tensions – make it difficult to agree on a single list for the Simultaneous and Mandatory Open Primary elections (PASO) this year. In this context, Mauricio Macri asked the former Buenos Aires governor María Eugenia Vidal for a meeting, taking advantage of the fact that she ended the mandatory quarantine after her trip to the United States. The objective: to try to persuade her, once again, to head the legislative list in the Province since, according to the former president, her candidacy is the only possibility of obtaining more votes in the district and thus avoiding a –new– triumph of the Kirchnerism in the most important electoral district in the country.

The meeting with Macri lasted just over an hour and took place in the farmhouse of Los Abrojos, in the Buenos Aires town of Malvinas Argentinas. From Vidal’s environment they commented to Page | 12 what “It was a good, honest meeting”, and that there the former governor confirmed her “personal and political” decision not to compete for a seat in Congress representing the Province of Buenos Aires. “There is a good personal relationship, not a leadership one. And as she already put in the book: she left mom and dad’s house, now she will decide what she wants, not what the other tells her, “said close sources.

The decision was already known, but now there is no going back: it is that the ruling party with the united Peronism is very strong in the Buenos Aires territory, and the 2019 election is still recent and its defeat is fresh in the citizens. A bad election could seriously affect his image to compete for the national presidency in 2023, a situation that explains the political component in his decision. This is not just a position of Vidal, but of the majority of the leaders of Juntos por el Cambio who, although they negotiate with this year’s candidacies on the table, have an eye on the presidential lists for two years from now.

LAnother option that is being considered for the immediate political future of the former governor is that she present herself as a candidate for the City of Buenos Aires: she knows the district, she is in discursive harmony with Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and Diego Santilli, and Together for Change is officialdom there. However, from his environment they confirmed that there were no definitions about his candidacy in the Capital during the meeting with Macri, although, as soon as he makes a decision on the matter, he will “communicate it to Mauricio, Cornejo and Lilita”.

Again, the former president would not be happy with this decision: on the one hand, he insists that Vidal should not change district again; and on the other hand, although he tries not to take sides publicly, he wants to avoid competing with the president of the PRO, Patricia Bullrich. In this sense, there is speculation about the possibility that he himself intercedes in the attempts to dissuade the former Security Minister from getting out of the fight and presenting himself as part of a single list. Although, for the moment, he would not give up his intention to lead the payroll and announced that he will call a district meeting of the party in the Capital and Province of Buenos Aires to determine if there is a will to agree.

Macri also talked about the candidacies in the City the day before with Rodríguez Larreta, this time at his home in Acassuso and where there were more disagreements than anything else. The Buenos Aires head of government wants Vidal in his territory because he guarantees him a greater number of votes and thus not lose so many seats in the Legislature, which is why he did not agree with the former president’s plan either. In addition, the triumph of a figure like Bullrich could mean a dispute for power within his own district. The same disagreement occurs regarding the candidacy of Santilli in the Province.


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