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ARGENTINA | 27-04-2023 19:47

Amid turbulence and tensions, PRO puts on united front

Key leaders from the centre-right party meet on Friday in San Isidro with talks over the opposition coalition’s line-up for the elections ongoing. 

With less than two months to go before the confirmation of electoral lists for the PASO primaries, the main leaders of the opposition PRO party are seeking to put on a united front.

Key leaders from the centre-right party meet on Friday in San Isidro with talks over the opposition coalition’s line-up for the elections ongoing. 

Former president Maurico Macri, Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, former Buenos Aires Province governor María Eugenia Vidal and the party’s president (though currently on leave) Patricia Bullrich are among those expected in attendance.

According to news reports, deputies Cristian Ritondo and Diego Santilli, who both aspire to be the next governor of Buenos Aires Province, are also on the guest-list, with Bullrich's interim replacement as party leader, Federico Angelini, also set to attend. 

Sources briefed reporters that the meeting is an attempt to “offer a picture of unity” and show that in the face of this week’s financial turbulence, “nothing has changed.” The opposition force also wants to underline that while its candidates differ on some issues, they agree on many issues.

PRO needs to define the party’s lists in negotiation with the other sectors of the opposition’s Juntos por el Cambio coalition. At least two candidates have declared for the presidential race (Bullrich and Rodríguez Larreta) with a third (Vidal) also interested in running. Meanwhile, PRO has at least three hopefuls in the race to become mayor of Buenos Aires City, the nation’s capital, which has been under their control for the past 12 years.

Rodríguez Larreta, who has said he will back a PRO candidates debate reports he would prefer Unión Cívica Radical Senator Martín Lousteau. The mayor is believed to favour City Health Minister Fernán Quirós as his successor, though he has yet to offer his endorsement to anyone.

In turn, Bullrich and Macri favour the former president’s cousin, Vicente López Mayor Jorge Macri, and a unified party list in the capital, which would provide a stronger challenger for Lousteau.

City Education Minister Soledad Acuña, who does not have the explicit support of any party bigwig, has announced that she will not withdraw her candidacy from the mayoral race.

Although the meeting will be focused on Argentina’s electoral season economic situation, it is expected that key issues relevant to the wider coalition – which also includes the UCR, Coalición Cívica-ARI and Peronismo Republicano – will be discussed. These will likely include the potential incorporation of libertarian lawmaker and Avanza Libertad founder José Luis Espert into the alliance, a proposition that has split party members.

Former vice-presidential hopeful and Peronismo Republicano chief Miguel Ángel Pichetto, as well as UCR-Jujuy Province Governor Gerardo Morales and Coalición Civica leader Maximiliano Ferraro, support the inclusion of Espert into the coalition. PRO has not clarified its position. 

Party leaders want to discuss enlarging the coalition in general, rather than just focus on Espert’s potential entrance, according to reports.

 

– TIMES/NA

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