National lawmaker José Luis Espert has confirmed his incorporation into Argentina’s main opposition coalition, which is seeking to broaden its voter base ahead of the upcoming PASO primaries and October’s general election.
Espert, 61, announced he was joining Juntos por el Cambio in a post on social media, sharing two photos of him pictured with the opposition’s leading presidential hopefuls, Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and on-leave PRO party chief Patricia Bullrich.
"We begin a common path for the fight for freedom to recover Argentina," Espert said in a post on Twitter, adding: "You and us. Together.
Espert, a liberal economist, is the founder of the Avanza Libertad party, which was previously partially linked to La Libertad Avanza libertarian grouping founded by outspoken lawmaker Javier Milei, another economist. Ties between the two are now tense.
Debate over whether to bring Espert into the coalition’s fold has been ongoing for months. Rodríguez Larreta, who wants to broaden the opposition’s ranks and build a “new majority” to strengthen the victor’s position post-October, will benefit from the move, though Bullrich – who leans to the right of opposition alliance – also welcomes Espert’s inclusion. The two are at odds over the potential inclusion of Milei, who represents the City mayor’s line in the sand, and Córdoba’s Peronist Governor Juan Schiaretti, whom Bullrich rejects.
"The total and definitive change that Argentines need to leave Kirchnerism behind faces Juntos por el Cambio with two challenges: that we are more united than ever and that at the same time we expand by adding new ideas and good people," said Rodríguez Larreta in a post on Twitter.
"Welcome José Luis Espert, a prestigious economist with a deep vocation for change, defender of democracy and the ideas of freedom,” he added.
Bullrich cheered the news in a video clip highlighting her historic support for the economist’s inclusion.
"Since the 2021 elections, I have been fighting for José Luis Espert to join Juntos por el Cambio," she wrote on social media.
"The liberal ideas that he [Espert] strongly defends are essential for the profound change we need," she remarked.
Espert has already announced that he intends to run for president in the PASO primaries, a decision that could shave vital votes away from Bullrich’s bid for the opposition nomination.