National lawmaker María Eugenia Vidal has reignited speculation in the opposition Juntos por el cambio coalition by declaring that she would like to be Argentina’s next president.
Vidal, a former governor of Buenos Aires Province, said in a radio interview on Monday that she would like to be head of state but is not “desperate,” adding that the opposition’s candidate “has to be the one that can beat” the ruling coalition.
"I would like to be president, but I am not desperate. It will be when it has to be," Vidal told journalist Cristina Pérez on Radio Rivadavia.
Argentina’s next presidential election is still more than a year away, but speculation continues over the identity of the candidates.
Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and PRO party leader Patricia Bullrich are both expected to run for the opposition, while former president Mauricio Macri has yet to confirm if he will go again for the Casa Rosada. The other senior partner in the coalition, the Radicals, have also hinted that they will put forward a candidate.
Vidal, who is not expected to be one of the frontrunners, has not officially said if she will enter the race, though she has previously expressed ambitions of running for the highest office.
The opposition candidate is likely to be decided in next year’s PASO primaries, with hopefuls facing off in a public vote ahead of the general elections.
Echoing Rodríguez Larreta’s recent line, Vidal said on Monday that “in 2023, our candidate for president has to be the one who can beat Kirchnerism.”
The national lawmaker also used the interview to comment on the rise of ultra-liberal candidate Javier Milei. Challenging recent comments from Bullrich and Milei, Vidal said she was not in favour of bringing the Avanza Libertad leader into the opposition’s camp.
"I think Milei is the symptom, not the disease," she said, addressing the economist's rise in the polls.
"His emergence reflects the anger” in Argentina at the government, she added.
"From Juntos por el Cambio we governed and learned, we have built solid teams and we have fought against the [political] caste that Milei talks about,” said Vidal. “Ideas are one thing, but carrying out transformations is quite another.”
Dissociating herself from favourable comments about the outspoken economist, Vidal said that in Juntos por el Cambio, "we are not all the same.”