Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has kicked off the election campaign with a prime and ambitious objective – to regain the youth vote lost to the pandemic for Kirchnerismo. The vice-president aims to win over part of this politically alienated age-group, which is more inclined to vote for the right in a libertarian direction.
It passed unnoticed during her first return to a public rally in almost three months earlier this week, but Fernández de Kirchner dropped a phrase with the most important part of an electoral campaign seeking thousands of youth votes. Some of those she already had and recognises that she lost due to the strict quarantine and the economic crisis. But to many others she is beginning to speak for the first time – those voters aged between 16 and 25, those who are not protagonists among the militants that were mobilised around the time of the death of her late husband and former president Néstor Kirchner.
The La Cámpora leaders who know how to draw in the youth recognise that there are voters within that sector who identify themselves as hostile to politics. They are more inclined to vote for the right.
“We’ll talk to them to tell them that freedom is not 'doing what I want,’” a leader from that grouping explained to Perfil.
That was also the direction in which the vice-president was heading in her first campaign in Buenos Aires Province territory.
“Youths should be for freedom but not their own freedom, because the freedom of everybody else is the best freedom. Freedom just for myself and to hell with everybody else is not freedom. They should include others in that freedom. Therefore help us towards that true freedom of this society when we are all vaccinated,” said Fernández de Kirchner in a moderate tone, different to her recent speeches.
Those groups who have lost faith in politics are strong in the social networks, where Kirchnerismo was accustomed to transferring its neighbourhood militancy, overrunning spaces where now government spaces are no longer alone.
Economists like Javier Milei and José Luis Espert have conquered these spaces and are now eyeing the election in Buenos Aires Province eagerly.
“Long live freedom” used to be the call to rebellion. Although this phenomenon has yet to translate into votes, Kirchnerism believes that this is a growth sector that needs to be conquered. Fernández de Kirchner has decided to take the first step.
Frente de Todos will also have to attract back the youth gained after the death of Néstor Kirchner in 2010. They recognise that the strict quarantine has alienated many of them with the economic crisis also playing against them.
“In her speech Cristina also related how in the vaccination centres the immense majority are young people working free of charge,” they explained in her entourage about that militancy which still accompanies her.
“She placed the focus on why [everybody] should be vaccinated – to return to normality and to be happy,” they assure.
Cristina has made the first move. Every sector within Frente de Todos will speak to a segment and the vice-president has made it clear that the first thing for now is to address that generation.
For weeks the ruling coalition leaders have been evaluating campaign strategies at “Monday panels” in La Plata with Buenos Aires Province Governor Axel Kicillof hosting Cabinet Chief Santiago Cafiero, Lower House Speaker Sergio Massa and Frente de Todos caucus chief Máximo Kirchner, among others, to crunch the numbers and decide tactics.
This Monday, however, Fernández de Kirchner’s reappearance modified plans and the meeting was suspended. The vice-president chose the time and place (and public works project) to kick off the campaign.
Among the ruling coalition there is no doubt as to who will head the campaign and be its chief strategist – her.