The opposition’s line-up for the PASO primaries came further into focus on Wednesday as Patricia Bullrich announced she has chosen her running-mate for the upcoming vote.
After consultation with her team, the former security minister and ex-PRO party leader revealed that ex-lawmaker Luis Petri would be her pick for Argentina’s vice-president if she is elected. The announcement was made just days before hopefuls must finalise their slates for the August primaries.
Bullrich, 67, one of the frontrunners to secure Juntos por el Cambio’s presidential nomination, has opted for a running-mate who has a high media presence but is not considered to be a major player in the political arena.
One of the advantages of Petri, 46, is that he brings in support from the opposition coalition’s other major party, the Unión Cívica Radical (UCR).
Hailing from San Martín, Mendoza Province, Petri served two terms as a national deputy from 2013 to 2021. In the recent PASO primary elections in Mendoza (June 11), he ran as a gubernatorial candidate, losing out in a competitive race to veteran political operator Alfredo Cornejo yet still banking one-quarter of all votes cast for the opposition.
Petri is seen as an expert in security issues and also previously served as a provincial deputy in Mendoza between 2005 and 2013. Within Radical circles, he is associated with the wing closest to former president Mauricio Macri.
He previously worked with Bullrich on legislation that sought to block the early release from prison of those convicted of serious crimes.
Petri’s media profile has risen in recent years, in part due to his romantic relationship with high-profile journalist Cristina Pérez, his partner since October 2021.
Bullrich’s main challenge for the opposition coalition’s presidential nomination comes from Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, who has not yet named his running-mate. Most analysts expect him to also opt for a UCR politician, most likely Jujuy Province Governor Gerardo Morales.
The only other declared presidential hopeful from the opposition coalition is another Radical, Facundo Manes, who is yet to define his ticket.
Pichetto v Ritondo
Juntos por el Cambio will also be able to look forward to a Peronist battle in Buenos Aires Province, the nation’s key battleground, where Miguel Ángel Pichetto and Cristian Ritondo will face-off against each other.
Pichetto, a former senator, vice-presidential candidate and head of the Partido Justicalista caucus in the upper house, has agreed to top the slate headed by Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta.
Meanwhile, former provincial security minister Ritondo will do the same for the list headed by Bullrich.
Both Ritondo and Pichetto are traditional Peronists but have moved away from their roots in recent years to sign up with the opposition coalition. Both are seen as “hawkish” figures, though the latter will now run with the City mayor’s “doves.”