Mauricio Macri says that he will not be a candidate. But he acts in the opposite way: all week he raised his profile with acts and conferences that would not make sense if he were not aiming for 2023. In fact, his opponents in the PRO already operate under the idea that they will have to face him in the PASO. Horacio Rodríguez Larreta already said it with all the letters: he does not get off before Macri. And he obsessively watches the polls to see if he tops it or not. Patricia Bullrich never wanted to answer what she would do if Macri shows up, but she doesn’t seem very willing to get off either. María Eugenia Vidal has not yet decided if she will present herself, but she does not stop touring the country. Meanwhile, the Buenos Aires and Buenos Aires inmates continue to be effervescent with a cross-support competition between national and local candidates.
As the end of the year approaches and, therefore, 2023, the PRO inmates -which were turbulent from 2020 to here- begin to order in the logic that there will be candidates competing at all levels. And in many, too, they will have to face the radicals. When Macri, at the presentation of his book So that?, tried to state that competition is healthy, it was the verification that there will in all probability be no agreement between the leadership that avoids clashes in the primaries (as long as there are primaries, that is).
the national fight
While trying to simulate good vibes with his opponents, Larreta does not neglect any aspect of his plan to work to be president. “We already work with the scenario that Macri is going to be a candidate and that we are going to an internship with him”, they say in the campaign team of the head of government. Although Macri assured that he is not listed, the reality is that they do not believe him. They do think that in March he will define whether it is or not and that the high negative image could weigh so that the former president decides not to compete again. Larreta knows, however, that he will have at least one internal opponent of the PRO: “It’s either Mauricio or Patricia”, they think around him. And the two together right? “If he goes, Patricia runs out of space and without voters. Hers are the same ones he had,” they indicate.
Bullrich doesn’t quite accept that scenario. In fact, in his environment they continue with the idea that Macri is not going to appear (the opposite of what Larreta thinks). She keeps pushing her candidacy and more so now that Macri goes through an ambiguity between supporting her or presenting himself. Macri’s reflections on the fact that the next government does not have to have concessions are all for Larreta. Bullrich does not even have to clarify. The president of the PRO moves through all the territories and operates on all the candidacies: she supports a candidate like Cristian Ritondo in the province of Buenos Aires, then takes a photo with Jorge Macri in Buenos Aires territory. She doesn’t seem like she’s willing to lower herself to anything. Time will tell.
Macri, for his part, shows no signs of what he intends to do. But the truth is that he believes that if he runs, Larreta and Bullrich should drop their candidacies immediately. Not so if they compete with each other or if it is added Vidal, who has been working to sneak into the intern, but has not yet decided if he will do it: first you want to see where you are at the beginning of next year. The fact that they perceive that the ruling party has a good chance of being defeated only makes it difficult for someone to drop their candidacy.
Yes ok macri does not define, the truth is that both the presentation of his book and the conference in Miami showed him lowering the line to his troops and presenting yourself as a potential candidate who wants a second chancewhere -as he explained- he will put aside “gradualism” and “goodism” and will undertake all the reforms straight to the bone and with all the repression that is necessary.
The internal Buenos Aires
Last week there was a set of photos. Jorge Macri took one with Patricia Bullrich, who did not win him any friends in Larreta’s cabinet. Larreta got another one with Martín Lousteau and also praised the healthy competition. The head of government, faced with requests for support, clarified that he intends to let them all run and that he will not define anything until next year. In fact, he encourages adding other PRO candidates to Jorge Macri such as Soledad Acuña or Fernán Quirós.
Meanwhile, in terms of support, Jorge Macri already feels that he is the undisputed candidate of the PRO. Larreta does not see this well and did not particularly like the photo with Bullrich, despite the fact that his government minister maintains that she supported him for his candidacy for head of government, but did not ask for reciprocity. “Jorge Macri is quick to ask for the support of Mauricio and Patricia”, they think in the Buenosairean Government. “He is part of a team, but he is making autonomous decisions. Either you are part of a team or you are a freethinker,” remarks someone who knows the living thought of the head of government. It is clear that the photo did not like one bit.
And also that in the Bullrich team they are very happy with what they generated for Larreta with that photo. “For Pelado, it was an atomic bomb,” they have fun.
For its part, Lousteau remains focused on being a candidate for head of government, away from the temptations of joining the national fight. Lousteau’s idea is to compete with whoever has to compete and win the City for radicalism. The leader of Evolución finds it reasonable that “the PRO folds in on itself,” that is, that they build a candidate to maintain the Buenos Aires government. But he believes that he can beat them. And he plans to compete against anyone.
The Buenos Aires intern
In the province of Buenos Aires, the competition is outlining two candidates: Diego Santilli versus Cristian Ritondo. Interestingly, they are the two Peronist leaders with the longest time in the PRO. Santilli has the support of Larreta and his strategy is to go for a crossed formula. Although it is early to define a running mate, it would not be surprising if he tries to be a radical. Without Facundo Manes, the Buenos Aires UCR was left without a candidate to compete with the chance of winning. So an agreement would not be unreasonable. The other possibility is that Santilli seeks to add candidates from other sectors, to expand Together for Change in Buenos Aires.
Ritondo, for its part, wants to gather all the national support. “Horacio is with Colo. Vidal supports Cristian, obviously, but Patricia is close and Mauricio is closer to him than to Larreta,” they warn in the campaign team of the PRO block chief. In fact, another of Bullrich’s photos was, precisely with Ritondo, to the detriment of some of his own candidates, such as Javier Iguacel. Ritondo, in addition, continues to want to weave an agreement with more PRO mayors: he is close to integrating a formula with the one from Lanús, Néstor Grindetti, and he has the one from Pinamar, Martín Yeza, as campaign manager.
The Buenos Aires contest will be important for the national candidates, so no one in the PRO wants to neglect that district. What is clear is that nowhere will there be a single candidate: competition will be the rule and single candidates the exception.