Roberto Lavagna on Wednesday failed to appear at a summit for dissident Peronist coalition Alternativa Federal, just days after the former economy minister confirmed his intention to run for president.
Sources close to Lavagna told Perfil he continues to be a member of the coalition but has not yet decided on whether he will partake in the primaries.
However, facing the challenge of a primaries race is a non-negotiable issue for his Alternativa Federal colleagues who, in his absence, called on former Buenos Aires Province governor Daniel Scioli and popular television presenter Marcelo Tinelli to join their ranks. Rumours have it that the group is close to announcing the candidacies for their primaries contest.
Sources from Lavagna's circle say he is bothered by the behaviour of Juan Manuel Urtubey, Juan Schiaretti, Sergio Massa and Miguel Ángel Pichetto's behaviour in recent weeks. The men had met prior to Wednesday's midday summit, without inviting Lavagna.
"Roberto is more concerned about expanding Alternativa Federal and that is what he would have liked to discuss today. He is not going to leave because he plans to continue working towards this objective," a source said, while denying Lavagna opposed a primaries contest.
Lavagna's position is that candidacies "must be defined further down the line," they said.
However, the news that Cristina Fernández de Kirchner will run as Alberto Fernández's running-mate has put pressure on Alternativa Federal to announce its own line-up.
Prior to the meeting, Schiaretti – who was recently re-elected governor of Córdoba province in a landslide vote – released a video message calling on Daniel Scioli and Marcelo Tinelli to join the group.
"Argentina wants to move beyond this polarisation. More than 50 percent of the population does not want a candidate that reflects this polarisation. This is why Alternativa Federal has the huge responsibility of working with the Socialists, GEN and other leaders who have expressed a desire to build a movement with other characterisitics," Schiaretti said.
"Such as Daniel Scioli or Marcelo Tinelli, there are many who can be an alternative. They must compete in the primaries. That is where we will choose our presidential candidate", he added.
Sources close to Salta's governor Urtubey told Perfil that a meeting took place on the sidelines of the summit, without an invitation for Lavagna.
"The meeting is a continuation of yesterday's [meeting]," they said. "Alternativa Federal continues the process of defining its candidacies for the primaries".
It is possible that these sideline meetings might be where candidacies are determined, with most seeking a "broad" primaries race, in order to choose the best candidate to line-up against Mauricio Macri in October.
It remains to be seen if Lavagna will be part of the competition, or if he will instead choose to operate independently of Alternativa Federal.