The UCR Radical Party held its annual convention on Sunday amid tensions over the party's role in the ruling Cambiemos (Let's Change) coalition.
With dismal poll numbers and a growing signs that the opposition Peronists can unite before the October elections, President Mauricio Macri and his allies breathed a sigh of relief on Sunday when the UCR's members voted to remain as part of the coalition.
However, the tone of the event included strong criticism of Macri and the dominant coalition member, the PRO Party, for its perceived mishandling of the country's economy and its exclusion of UCR Radical Party members in key policy areas.
High-profile UCR members Ricardo Alfonsín, Federico Storani and Juan Manuel Casella opposed the party's continued membership of the coalition, sources deep inside the convention told Perfil. Despite their opposition, they continue accept the majority view, the sources indicated.
"We stayed inside the party to continue to battle on ideas", Casella told the C5N news channel.
The UCR will now form a round table composed of six Radical leaders who will take a range of proposals to their Cambiemos counterparts. The round table will include Jujuy Governor Gerardo Morales, Mendoza Governor Alfredo Cornejo and Corrientes Governor Gustavo Valdés, Perfil reported.
Observers believe the UCR could urge the PRO Party to allow a primaries race to determine the coalition's best candidate for the presidency, meaning President Macri would have to fight for coalition support for his leadership prior to the October election. Key PRO Party leaders have flat-out rejected the proposal, though some within UCR are reportedly still pursuing the matter.
Interior Minister Rogelio Frigerio, whom coalition members like Elisa Carrió criticised for allegedly failing to support coalition members in provincial elections like Córdoba's two weeks ago, said Monday that the Radicals were "an example of internal democracy in political parties where issues are discussed and debated without restrictions".
Cambiemos must "broaden its base" to remain in power, Frigerio conceded, speaking in an interview with the Todo Noticias news network.
Former US Ambassador under Macri, Martín Lousteau, also attended the event UCR event.
"I want a broader coalition that gives people answers. If there is something broader then I will be where that coalition needs me and, if not, I won't be a part of it", Lousteau, who is a Radical but competed for his current position as a lawmaker in Buenos Aires City's Legislature outside the coalition, said.
UCR Radical Party members like Lousteau and Alfonsín, with long-held differences with the Macri government, have expressed a desire to see the UCR align with the progressive Socialist and GEN parties behind presidential hopeful Roberto Lavagna.