As was not the case four decades ago, the Radical Civic Union is experiencing a moment of political ecstasy. Despite the complaints about being non-partisan and personalist, no one doubts that the arrival of Martín Lousteau and Facundo Manes, even with the internal fights embodied by the former that also mobilized the party, revitalized it and gave it an ambitious electoral perspective. Along the same lines, making up the media face of the space, the contribution of deputy Martín Tetaz and senator Carolina Losada is important.
A proof of this state of fascination of the white berets are the multiple activities with governors, mayors, leaders and radical professionals who motorize every week in the country, especially in the province of Buenos Aires.
The barbecue in the best Peronist style that took place in La Plata last week brought together the leading supporters of radicalism and the atmosphere was political. They were from those who have a representative position in the UCR as its head, Gerardo Morales, to the heads of blocs in Congress and party and provincial legislative authorities. Manes was also there, and his presence was justified by having been the one who headed the list of candidates for radicalism and allies who went to the intern against Diego Santilli. In fact, it is the strong presidential bet of the UCR that, among others, is promoted by Ernesto Sanz -who was another of the guests- and now also by Enrique “Coti” Nosiglia.
The sector that drives Manes is clear about its electoral strategy. “We want him away from radicalism and to arm himself with the center, with Peronism. We take care of the radicals”, they say close to him.
Some key guidelines were defined in the conclave. First, the idea persists go with a single presidential candidate to the PASO of Together for Change. How will they determine if it is Manes, Morales, or whoever joins? The one with the best position will arrive, the one that the polls place with a significant distance from the second.
“If the radical candidate does well, we will improve everywhere. For example, today radicalism has 32 mayors in the province of Buenos Aires and I think we have chances of reaching 60 municipalitieswhich, no matter how small, is half of the province”one of those present at the meeting enthuses.
One of the proposals that had a good reception was that of the head of the Buenos Aires UCR, Maximiliano Abad: “collaborative competition”. That is, that there is a healthy coexistence among all those who apply, without aggression or personal chicanery. For example, that Manes can campaign without problems in Jujuy, or Morales in Buenos Aires territory; that there are no crossovers between the two. And so on with all those who run for office in the province and in the municipalities. “Unity in the competition”, they defined it.
But the most forceful decision that flew over La Plata was about the presidential candidate. If there is a competitive one, that is, with a chance of winning the primaries and becoming the JxC presidential candidate, no other leader may run for Vice of Horacio Rodríguez Larreta or Patricia Bullrich. They will all be aligned behind the radical candidate. That could change the entire landscape in Together for Change.
Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and Patricia Bullrich. Photo: Rolando Andrade Stracuzzi
Bullrich often praises Alfredo Cornejo, and would like the senator to accompany her. In Larretismo some dream of Morales to accompany the mayor of Buenos Aires. But that definition of the UCR would fly through the air these options since only a radical candidate or formula would be allowed, but not the crossing.
It is no coincidence that this weekend Morales, party leader, said that he wants “a radical governor in all the provinces.”
Of course, in the event that Manes or Morales himself did not arrive with presidential chances at the PASO of JxC, the radicals would try occupy as many key places.
The intention of Bullrich and Larreta is divide radicalism because they know that it is a structure that if it lines up behind a single candidate, it is very competitive. The UCR-Frepaso Alliance suffered it, saving the distances, when the UCR proposed Fernando de la Rúa and the Frepaso proposed Graciela Fernández Meijide. They went to internships and the radical prevailed by a notable difference because Chacho Alvarez’s party lacked a national presence. It is not the case of the PRO, but it would be a tough fight.
Another chess move could alter the electoral panorama of the PRO. Morales fantasizes not only about being the UCR candidate, but that Manes run for the head of the Buenos Aires government. The neurosurgeon measures very well in the Buenos Aires district and if something like this were to happen and Manes had a chance, the governor of Jujuy would deal a blow to the PRO and Lousteau, with whom he maintains a tough internship.
It sounds difficult for the PRO to allow itself to be snatched away from the main stronghold it possesses, such as the City, and which it has governed for 15 years. For now the party’s strongest candidate is Jorge Macri, since it would not be in the plans of María Eugenia Vidal to succeed Larreta. However, if the PRO is not enough, he has an ace up his sleeve called Fernán Quirós.
The meeting held fifteen days ago by Juan Schiaretti, Morales, Rogelio Frigerio, Emilio Monzó, Florencio Randazzo, Graciela Camaño, Pablo Javkin and Angel Rozas continues to raise doubts about the real motives. Of all of them, beyond being a national deputy, the main shipowner is Monzó.
Emilio Monzo with Miguel Angel Pichetto. Photo: Juano Tesone
In Larretismo they place him near the Head of the Buenos Aires government. However, in recent days, three leaders who respond to Monzó, such as Sebastián García de Luca, Nicolás Massot and Marcelo Daletto, appeared on photos with Bullrichin different activities in Tigre, Vicente López and Lomas de Zamora.
Monzó for now perceives himself as an independent who seeks to arm himself politically for JxC. With that idea he works in three axes. Paying for the joint work with radicalism, under the concept that with the UCR alone it is not enough, but without the UCR it is not possible to win in 2023; build a space with what he calls “white peronism”, that it is very difficult for him to join JxC, so a common point or a new alliance would have to be found; work in the political part of the PRO, although Monzó will not be defined by anyone yet and under him they come close to Bullrich.
The future of the opposition would be plagued with questions. Will the electorate look for a tough or moderate candidate? The PRO has Larreta, Bullrich and eventually Mauricio Macri. Will radicalism have only one candidate? Will the PRO and the UCR play separately or with crossed formulas? What will they do with Javier Milei? Who will be the applicants to the Province and in the City?
But the problem goes beyond the internal opposition. There are symptoms of the seriousness of the economic and social situation.
The economist Jeffrey Sachs, in an interview with Clarionargued that there two factors that make it difficult to combat inflation. The inertia of a society that is always on the defensive and does not trust because it has grown in inflation; and that no one in the world believes Argentina.
A recent work by the consulting firm Taquion, when asked “How do you think the economy will be in 10 years”, showed that almost 40% responded that it will be worse and 17% that it will be the same as now, that is, very bad. Namely, 57% are hopeless of an improvement in their quality of life.
A breeding ground with an unpredictable ending: that of a society without economic expectations and, at times, without political expectations.