The two leading PRO presidential hopefuls, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and Patricia Bullrich, have agreed that their centre-right party will field a single consensus candidate in Buenos Aires City for the upcoming mayoral election.
However, with both keen to push their preferred figures in Buenos Aires Province, PRO will put up multiple candidacies for the PASO primaries in the nation’s most populous region.
The decisions were taken after a breakfast meeting on Tuesday between Rodríguez Larreta, the capital’s current mayor, and Bullrich, the PRO party chair who is currently on leave as she campaigns for the presidency.
City Government Minister Jorge Macri and City Education Minister Fernán Quirós, are the two options under consideration in the capital. Both are said to support the decision.
"There will be a single pre-candidate for Head of Government of the City representing PRO,” read an official PRO communiqué issued in the wake of the meeting.
It said that the candidate would be “defined by polls which will be conducted in the coming days,” with a final decision made by “towards the end of May.”
Campaign teams from both candidates "will move forward together on operational issues such as election supervision and ballots and a single position of the PRO, in relation to the incorporation of new political forces to Juntos por el Cambio,” it continued.
Jorge Macri, the cousin of former president Mauricio Macri, is the clear favourite to secure the candidacy.
The Vicente López mayor – who took a leave of absence to assume his City Hall post last year – leads most of the polls, though Quirós is generally viewed more positively by voters. The City health minister’s reputation was boosted by his successful handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Party sources say PRO has taken the decision to field a consensus candidate in order to safeguard the party’s chances of retaining control of the City. A strong challenge from Radical Senator Martín Lousteau, a coalition ally, in the primaries could weaken its chances of extending its 16-year dominance of the nation’s capital. The other Juntos por el Cambio hopeful will be Ricardo López Murphy, of Republicanos Unidos.
Bullrich and Rodríguez Laretta have agreed to field multiple candidates in Buenos Aires Province, a key battleground region for any election.
“Each PRO presidential hopeful will have their own gubernatorial hopeful so there will be a PASO in this category," read the statement, which stressed that the unity of PRO and Juntos el Cambio was the priority.