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OPINION AND ANALYSIS | 16-11-2023 11:41

Mauricio Macri has a Plan A and a Plan B

Former president's bet on Javier Milei, outlined during campaigning and quickly confirmed after the first round vote, has put Mauricio Macri back in the spotlight.

With a smile that he doesn't want to hide, Mauricio Macri is savouring this political period with revenge and vindication.

His bet on Javier Milei, outlined during the primary election campaign and quickly confirmed after the result of the first round of the presidential vote, has put the former president back in the limelight.

So much so that this PRO-La Libertad Avanza pact was perceived as a sort of intervention within La Libertad Avanza, which generated distances, displacements, crises and ruptures. As well as a certain relief among the libertarian circle: without "President Macri" (as Milei calls him) they believed that the run-off would be hopelessly lost. Not to mention the scenarios in the face of a possible victory.

In an open denial of LLA's official narrative – that it is merely a matter of electoral support and patriotic help in auditing the vote – Macri has already provided donors, economists, operators, former officials and media favours to the libertarian party.

The former president is convinced that without this infrastructure Milei's chances of defeating Sergio Massa on Sunday. November 19, are slim. And it is essential if a victory puts Milei in the Casa Rosada 20 days later. "They are very ill-equipped and we have to help," says Macri behind closed doors.

Obviously, Macri's Plan A is that Milei wins and the PRO adds its own leaders to the cabinet in sensitive areas under the patronage of the former president. Even at the top of the Economy Ministry, no less. There are several exponents who are even self-candidates, which adds to the confusion surrounding the libertarian candidate.

Milei spoke to Macri about these issues in his offices at the Hotel Libertador in Buenos Aires on Monday. November 13, in the afternoon. Apart from the disagreements between the two teams in this process of fusion, the former president wanted to convey his concern about the libertarian's poor performance in the final debate the preceding night.

They also clarified a hitherto unknown point of discord between them. Days before, and without Milei's knowledge, Macri met at his house in Acassuso with Victoria Villarruel, the vice-president of the La Libertad Avanza ticket.

Sources from both parties disclosed this secret summit but categorically denied what they alleged was a press operation encouraged, in theory, by pro-government sources saying that at the meeting at Hotel Libertador, Macri had asked Milei to withdraw  his candidacy just five days before the run-off was due to take place.

Sources say Macri, requesting confidentiality, wanted to meet Villarruel personally. He was also interested in consulting her about Milei, the people who surround him and the team that is still in place.

The libertarian presidential candidate found out about the summit later, much to his displeasure. Macri, during his visit to the Liberator, and Villarruel both tried to appease the fiery temper of the economist.

Close to the former president they deny that Macri's Plan B is Villarruel. Or that his attempted return to power at Boca, the club he loves, is a dress rehearsal. They do admit that, faced with the alternative of defeat, Macri is trying to set himself up as the leader of the opposition to Massa and the guarantor of a supposedly republican option.

They accept that this scenario could be somewhat complicated. In addition to the internal consequences that are already being passed onto him via the now defunct Juntos por el Cambio coalition (which would multiply in the event of a new electoral failure of his newly chosen candidate), there are also the negative forecasts regarding Massa's governmental management.

In the Macrista camp, the spectre of a possible campaign of judicial persecution against him is being raised. Such speculation was fuelled last weekend by a harsh exchange on social media between Macri and Unión Cívica Radical leader and outgoing Jujuy Province Governor Gerardo Morales, who both have old scores to settle.

Macri taunted the UCR chairman that he would be voting for Massa on Sunday, along with his fellow jujeña native and enemy Milagro Sala. Morales, indignant, among other things, responded that both Macri and the former president's historic rival, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, would be in prison in a normal country.

Perhaps that will also be at stake this Sunday.

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Javier Calvo

Javier Calvo


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