"The votes will be there." The phrase, surprisingly, does not respond to an ‘albertista’ official, but to those closest to Máximo Kirchner. The deputy, who this week resigned his position as speaker of the Frente de Todos bloc in the lower house, assures those around him that he will not obstruct debate on the government’s bill regarding its understanding with the International Monetary Fund. Some La Cámpora lawmakers may even raise a hand if a vote or two is needed to approve it.
The ‘cristinistas’ and ‘camporistas,’ who today number around 40, are undoubtedly the most vertical sector of the Frente de Todos. None of its deputies will move forward with parliamentary discussion on the IMF agreement without the endorsement of their respective leaders, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Máximo Kirchner. Although they have not yet received a directive, and despite the bombshell resignation, this does not mean that the order they will receive is to vote against the bill that Alberto Fernández’s government sends to Congress.
Those who have spoken to Máximo recently are clear: he will not obstruct the approval of the bill in Congress. "He will not call on his legislators to vote against it. It is clear that many have a similar position, but Máximo will not give this order," those around him say.
Within Kirchnerismo they go even further. Sources explained that "it is not the same if the agreement with the IMF is approved by Máximo than by a deputy who answers to him but does not have the same importance." What does this mean exactly? That the ruling party is going to do everything possible to guarantee the necessary votes, including Kirchnerite lawmakers. Within the 118 deputies that make up Frente de Todos, they already know that there are three from the Frente Patria Grande, who answer to social leader Juan Grabois, who will not support them. The rest will depend on the hands needed.
The scenario they imagine in the ruling coalition’s bloc is that a sector of the opposition will support the bill. In the event of needing votes from hardcore Kirchernites, sources assure that the hands and abstentions will be guaranteed. But if there are sufficient votes , they will not be the ones to approve the bill. Máximo will continue to be the one who takes the most critical stance against the US$57-billion stand-by agreement agreed by former president Mauricio Macri.
Máximo closely followed the repercussions of his resignation. Among the arguments in his favour, the 44-year-old explained to those around him that he had to maintain his hard stance within Frente de Todos. This is why he will not vote for an agreement with the multilateral lender but will not resign from the Peronist coalition.
The La Cámpora leader repeats that there is no possible break and admits that his move could make some value Alberto Fernández even more, especially the ones that supported him in 2019 for not being a full-blown Kirchnerite. Máximo hopes that his replacement, Germán Martínez, can show greater coordination between the Executive and Congress. Both met on Wednesday for talks.
Martinez and Lower House Speaker Sergio Massa will start the clock in the next few weeks. The Tigre leader will be in charge of consolidating support for the agreement with the IMF. Up until today, Massa and Máximo Kirchner had played in tandem but now, each will move according to what they believe their voters demand of them.
If the agreement with the IMF passes through the Chamber of Deputies, the Kirchnerites do not plan to block its debate in the Senate either. Vice-President Fernández de Kirchner is still quiet for now, but both the Casa Rosada and those closest to her confirm that she did not agree with her son’s resignation. This is a message: that the new crisis generated within the party will not deepen even more.