Saturday, September 25, 2021
Perfil

ARGENTINA | 06-08-2021 00:01

Patricia Bullrich: ‘Any level of aggression in Juntos por el Cambio has to stop’

Arguing that PRO should be “a party of ideas, not of marketing,” influential opposition leader says she feels “vindicated by the government’s “purchase of the Pfizer vaccines."

Patricia Bullrich moves around as if she were still heading the Security Ministry, with aides and political leaders awaiting her attention all around her. And she never stops – her mobile phone rings as in her days of officialdom, perhaps even more so. 

In an interview with Perfil, the PRO party leader speaks out, addressing opposition infighting and the government’s agreement with Pfizer.

Patricia Bullrich moves around as if she were still heading the Security Ministry, with aides and political leaders awaiting her attention all around her. And she never stops – her mobile phone rings as in her days of officialdom, perhaps even more so. 

In an interview with Perfil, the PRO party leader speaks out, addressing opposition infighting and the government’s agreement with Pfizer.

 

What’s at stake for PRO in these elections?

In PRO we are working on the possibility of converting our party organisation into being more horizontal and more federal, less tied to this City and more tied to the capacity of its leaders to construct profiles which attract votes. Back in 2019 the lists were basically drawn up by the government so that this is the first election where we have autonomy to draw up the lists and set the general rules, such as the Juntos por el Cambio branding. I hope that these PASO primaries strengthen the political identity of PRO so that it’s not a party of marketing but of ideas. I’m hoping for stronger candidates.

 

Will the code of ethics prepared by Juntos por Cambio avoid infighting, as when [Facundo] Manes spoke of campaigning with City Hall funds?

The code is already there, it still needs to be placed on the table for discussion. The idea of the code is to remind everybody not to hit below the belt. I don’t want to talk about Manes because he gets as good as he gives. We must stop aggressive or violent talk at every level, we must have civic friendship.

 

Do you rule out dumping Sabrina Ajmechet from the list of candidates for Congress for her opinions on Malvinas sovereignty?

Yes. In Argentina there’s an ideological patrol out to criticise you if you have a historical opinion alien to the war. It’s a baptism of fire which everybody entering politics undergoes. She’s a top-rate intellectual with her own historical opinion. There’s also a political operation – they took her tweets out of context.

 
When you look at the map of candidates in Buenos Aires City and Province, have the PRO doves won out?

The decision we took gave them [the doves] calm in the Capital. If we had decided to fight, they would have been in a very complex situation but we decided on another strategy out of conviction. 

In the case of Buenos Aires Province perhaps [the doves won out] – we would have preferred a unified list and it’s a problem not having one. But there is no winner – there is a reality and a party which has to live with its [various] outlooks. 

The horizon is to form a government in 2023 and [in my case] not to be a deputy this year. That horizon opens up very great possibilities for us. Besides, we slipped in quite a few candidates (laughs).



Will you campaign alongside [María Eugenia] Vidal and [Mayor Horacio Rodríguez] Larreta in the City?

Yes, I’ll be campaigning with all the PRO lists in the primary and where there’s a single list, after the 12th [of September].

 

How do you see the Vidal candidacy?

It seems to me that the best way to explain it is with proposals. And already I know that’s happening quite naturally, every time they ask her less [about the change of district]. According to the plan, we are proposing the defence of private property against squatting, the Republic, judicial independence, education, all this will come into the campaign of which we feel very much part. The construction I have made while chairing PRO will be present in some way.



How is your relationship with [ex-president Mauricio] Macri?

He’s unlucky enough to be stranded. He wanted to return previously. Mauricio ought to be seen as a former president who should speak of important things, his place is not the politician drawing up lists. His taking his distance is positive.



Did he abandon you and [his cousin, Vicente López Mayor] Jorge Macri?

I asked him to stay neutral. He’s everybody’s ex-president and could not back part of his party. In biodiversity if the hawks kill the doves or the doves the hawks, there’s nothing left. You need the different outlooks within PRO and at some point a strategic outlook for the country.

 

And [opposition coalition partner Elisa] Carrió?

We have been talking for some time now, we have a good relationship – sometimes we’re in agreement and sometimes not. We’ve shared values for many years now so that I would never fight with her. I’m a very independent person anyway.

 

What do you think of ‘OlivosGate,’ the entry of people for social activities in the midst of quarantine to see the President?

I don’t like talking about people’s private lives but Alberto Fernández once attacked me saying that Olivos [presidential residence] was a sacred place where demonstrations could not be held. Well, he should watch out, not for himself but for the office he holds.

 

How did you find out when [Health Minister Carla] Vizzotti announced the Pfizer agreement and how did you feel?

I first found out when Jerry [her chief advisor Gerardo Milman] tweeted me saying: “It should be Patricia Bullrich going to Ezeiza [airport] to pick up the Pfizer vaccines.” After that there was any number of messages on the social networks, in the media, saying that if this debate had not been started, this would never have happened. It became so clear that everything they said was all lies so that I felt vindicated.


 

--- Places on the lists ---

Despite having backed down from the electoral contest in the Federal Capital, Bullrich and her PRO “hawks” landed places on the lists of Congress candidates in the City and Buenos Aires Province.

In the former list, controversial politician Fernando Iglesias ranks fourth, historian Sabrina Ajmechet (proposed by Bullrich herself) seventh, and former Tucumán senator Pablo Walter (at the request of Senator Esteban Bullrich but also close to the other Bullrich) eighth.

“Besides you have to add [economist] Martín Tetaz, he’s a hawk,” say those close to the PRO head with a smile.

In the provincial list her right-hand man Gerardo Milman is fifth, Maru Sotolano (close to Jorge Macri) sixth and leading hawk Hernán Lombardi seventh.

Two places have also been reserved for Bullrich in the list of candidates for the City Legislature along with Darío Nieto, the ex-president’s private secretary. “They’re all worth a vote,” add the sources.

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Ezequiel Spillman

Ezequiel Spillman

Subeditor de Política de Diario Perfil. Mail: [email protected]

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