Cristina Kirchner and Alberto Fernández met last night for more than three hours in Olivos to analyze the PASO and design a new strategy to try to reverse the results of the adverse elections. They were at the presidential residence, alone, and another meeting was scheduled in the coming days to finish defining the times for the change of Cabinet, among other changes in the Government.
The meeting, reported high official sources, It took place in the villa of the fifth officer between 6.30 and 10 p.m. The President and the vice-president were alone and the content of the meeting was kept confidential.. It is the first step that the different tribes were waiting to begin to organize the intern in the ruling coalition, less than two months before the November elections. Nevertheless, from the surroundings of Cristina Kirchner they denied this morning that the meeting had existed.
In the different spaces they consider the changes necessary, but there are differences on the details of the new direction, the implementation times, the depth, and the officials on whom they will impact. The Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, is the official most questioned: the defeat is largely attributed to the management of his portfolio.
The resignation of the members of the cabinets of Alicia Kirchner in Santa Cruz, which was known on Monday night; and Axel Kicillof in the province of Buenos Aires, confirmed today by the Minister of Government, María Teresa García, are an indication of Cristina Kirchner’s proposal. As was manifested by the voices of different leaders of Kirchnerism in recent days, the position of the Instituto Patria is that the reorientation in the Government and the replacement of certain figures should be carried out as expeditiously as possible. The main target is the Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán.
Negotiations at the door
The results of the primaries showed, as expected, what the weight of each force is today. Cristina Kirchner remains the main contributor of votes: the only area of the Province where the Frente de Todos won is the populous third electoral section, in the south of the suburbs, where she imposes her figure. However, the vice president positioned herself with a lower margin than that obtained in 2019, which represented a blow that the Instituto Patria tried to digest. They blame the President, who “lost” the moderate votes that he contributed two years ago due to wear and tear since last year due to handling the pandemic, his discursive errors and the Olivos scandal.
The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Sergio Massa, also suffered a strong setback in the elections: the ruling party lost in the first and fourth electoral sections, where the most concentrated nuclei of middle-class citizens are found, to whom the Renovador Front he addressed himself through speeches and policies on tax and insecurity issues. The reconstruction of the broken link with Cristina Kirchner in 2019 had been due, in large part, to the contribution of votes – more than 10 percent – that the Renovador Front could provide to the project of “unity” of Peronism. That percentage, undermined in these elections, also forced Massa to recalculate these days.
The days after the PASO pass between speculations in retrospect, with the question about the reasons for the defeat in the center, and towards the future, regarding the modifications in the Government in the face of the general elections. In addition, a possible rearrangement of power in the governing coalition is discussed, where all spaces were harmed.
In the 48 hours after the shock suffered by the Frente de Todos in the PASO, there were several separate meetings of the partners of the ruling coalition with their closest teams, which were connected to each other through second lines. These days, the Minister of the Interior, Eduardo “Wado” de Pedro keeps his agenda free of official activities and dedicates himself exclusively to his political role: in the last few days he was with Cristina Kirchner, with Alberto Fernández and with Santiago Cafiero, and acted as a link between the Casa Rosada and the Senate.
In parallel, the ruling party forces exchanged messages through the media, networks and speeches at events. During Monday, in the midst of the anxiety immediately after the hit of Juntos por el Cambio at the polls, La Cámpora let it be known through media reports that Kirchnerism promoted “rapid” changes in the Cabinet and in the course of economic policies and social issues of the Government.
That day, different voices of hard Kirchnerism, such as the former Kirchnerist ambassador Alicia Castro, the head of Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Hebe de Bonafini, the national deputy Fernanda Vallejos and the former Minister of Economy, Amado Boudou, exhibited strong criticism -and above all very direct-, against Alberto Fernández and his environment. All of them are part of a radicalized sphere of the Christian wing of the Government, and many times their high-sounding words are relativized by the nucleus closest to the vice president.
However, yesterday one of the authorized voices of the campers, the Buenos Aires official Andrés “Cuervo” Larroque, let us know “first hand” the view of the Patria Institute on the need for a political, but also economic, rearrangement, with a testimony on the record with radio El Uncover. “We must re-profile the Frente de Todos. The weighting of health policy may not have been valued or could not compensate for an economic situation that is obviously very difficult. The message from the polls is that. We must not be afraid or hesitate, we must take care that we are Peronists and the Peronists solve problems for the people, ”said the Buenos Aires Minister of Community Development, who responds to Axel Kicillof and Cristina and Máximo Kirchner.
Although Cristina Kirchner and the Buenos Aires governor Axel Kicillof, another of the great defeated, remained silent, Larroque’s words were taken in the ruling party as a formalization of the dispute that has been developing since Sunday night, when the first alarms in the albertista wing about an advance by La Cámpora on the Casa Rosada due to the electoral setback. However, after a series of meetings that took place between that same morning and Tuesday afternoon, that sector resisted the onslaught and negotiated the pace of changes.
For its part, Alberto Fernández provided important signals aimed at showing strength and defending his management. On Monday he showed up with his closest officials: the Chief of Staff, Santiago Cafiero, the Minister of Productive Development, Matías Kulfas; that of Public Works, Gabriel Katopodis; that of Social Development, Juan Zabaleta and, above all, with Martín Guzmán, the most questioned figure in his administration since the defeat is mainly attributed to economic management factors. At the same time, Cafiero received the heads of Labor, Claudio Moroni; to Health, Carla Vizzotti, to Tourism, Matías Lammens, and to Territorial Development and Habitat, Jorge Ferraresi, to hold work meetings and show that he remains firm in his position.
The following day, the President repeated the scheme and was exhibited together with Katopodis, Kulfas and Ferraresi in Almirante Brown, one of the few districts of the third section of the Buenos Aires suburbs where the Frente de Todos registered a comfortable victory. “I am sure that we are on the right path”, he launched, in the framework of a visit to a factory of packaging that was planned since last week. Keeping the agenda as it was scheduled was also a message. Axel Kicillof, who was on the guest list for the event with the President, finally did not appear.
More political talks are expected in the coming days. Cristina Kirchner’s agenda was reserved, while the President prepared the presentation of a series of economic announcements for Thursday. As described by official sources, they will have similar lines with the stage prior to the STEP. There will be bonuses for retirees and a “segmented IFE” is evaluated, although it is not defined for whom or for how long. For now, they discard the implementation of a universal salary or income as proposed by social movements.