Three weeks after the breakdown of the radical bloc in Deputies and the formation of 10 minority blocs of Juntos por el Cambio in the lower house of Congress, the tension in the main opposing force it is transferred non-stop to the Buenos Aires legislature. The UCR, which already suffered the split of the legislators of the mayor of San Isidro Gustavo Posse, threatens to break the PRO if there is no green light to try modifying the law that limits re-releases sanctioned in 2016. This modification, although it perfects the norm, also enables mayors who have been in office for two consecutive terms they can show up for one more in 2023.
The mayors of the PRO and the president of the party, Patricia Bullrich, accompany that project and charge against the former governor María Eugenia Vidal, who is fighting not to deliver that flag that she interprets as one of his main legacies management. The communal chiefs elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2019 who should leave their positions in 2023 they assure that the law is bad, because it facilitates licenses and mechanisms to evade it. Close to the current national deputy for the City they insist that the true objective of the mayors is reopen the door of re-elections undefined.
After holding conversations with the representatives of the Frente de Todos, the senators and legislators who respond to the radicalism and the mayors of the PRO They hope to vote this Tuesday the project that enables a new re-election of mayors and which was presented on Thursday by the provincial senators of Juntos, the former mayor of San Miguel and Minister of Government of Vidal, Joaquín de la Torre, and Juan Pablo Allan, who responds to Esteban and Patricia Bullrich. That same day the Legislature will vote -with the antecedent of failure in the National Congress- the 2022 Budget of the Province. In the governorate they trust that they will have the votes of the opposition mayors, in need of funds and works.
In practice, if this law is approved, the mayors elected in 2015 may be re-elected in 2023 for one more term and indefinite re-elections would be suspended.
María Eugenia Vidal, former Buenos Aires governor and national deputy, opposes changing the limit on re-elections. Photo: Juan Manuel Foglia
The project proposes to modify article 3 of the regulatory decree that enables mayors to leave their positions before the middle of their mandate in order to show up again on next shift. They already used that strategy more than 20 mayors re-elected in 2019. Twenty-one of them are from the Frente de Todos: they ended up in national, provincial or legislative positions. The second point that the project objects is the presumed retroactivity of the rule, since it was enacted in 2016 and promulgated in 2017, but it affected the mayors who had already been elected in 2015. The regulatory decree of the original law, which opened the door to licenses as a way to access a further period, is from April 10, 2019
On friday the Forum of mayors of Together of the Province signed a statement in which justified the modification of the law. “The regulatory decree was designed for exceptional situations, but its massive and generalized use to evade the will of the legislator (and society) shows that the current law combined with the regulation is far from preventing the indefinite re-election of mayors,” he says the text.
Paradoxically it was De la Torre, then Vidal’s minister, who signed the regulatory decree on April 10, 2019 that the mayors of Peronism they use to circumvent the law– and that now they want to modify. For the hawks of the PRO, the regulation was part of a negotiation with the mayors of the PJ that Vidal could not ignore.
The platense Julio Garro is one of the mayors most critical of vidalism. Jorge Macri, a new Buenos Aires minister, did not avoid euphemisms either. “The law was poorly regulated”, the mayor insisted on the use of a license in Vicente López, who has already warned that whatever happens will not go for a new term. The mayors maintain that the prohibition of indefinite re-elections does not exist in practice and that their desire is institutionalist. On the other side, they laugh.
Vidal’s statement this week fell like a bucket of cold water among the communal leaders. “The Argentines have been clear and forceful: they want to change and are fed up with political ‘shortcuts’ and that the rules are only followed when appropriate“Said the current Buenos Aires deputy in a text that was signed by the head of the PRO bloc in the Lower House, Cristian Ritondo, and 11 Buenos Aires legislators, and that curiously did not bear the signature of Fabian Perechodnik, vice president of the Bonarense Lower House and former secretary general of Vidal.
The statement of the former governor was discussed in two meetings by zoom of the mayors the same Thursday. It was resolved to move forward with Allan’s project.
They also wanted to discuss it with Horacio Rodríguez Larreta Y Diego Santilli, main bishop of the head of Government, during the toast they shared on Thursday. They both retired earlier: they prefer not to get involved. They have nothing to gain from that discussion. Santilli also does not have its own legislators. Both defend Vidal and spoke out against re-elections, but privately admit that there was errors in the wording of the decree regulatory. They are concerned, more than any law, to cut off the internal short-circuits in the opposition coalition, inexplicable just 45 days after successful elections.
The mayors of Together for Change who are pushing for the modification took their proposal to the PRO national table, which rejected the re-elections but allowed them to do so. The national table of radicalism, on the other hand, endorsed the claim of its communal leaders in the interior of Buenos Aires. This Monday the issue could be discussed at the scheduled meeting of the JxC national table.
As the law was not dealt with in commission, it would need a two-thirds approval of the chamber to be dealt with on a tabular basis. In vidalism they believe they have 31 guaranteed votes against the project. The parcel includes legislators from the Civic Coalition, a radical and up to two deputies from the Left Front.
They mainly have their own legislators, those of José Luis Espert and those of the Renovation Front. From both forces ratified that they will not accompany a modification.
Support from Sergio Massa The sanction of the law was fundamental in 2016. “Sergio is not going to erase with his elbow what he wrote with his hand,” say the collaborators of the President of the Deputies, who reiterate that he will not send a vote against the law that helped lets vote. Intendants who knew military in the hosts of the FR assure that if the Tigrense opposes, will dynamite his relationship with the communal heads of Peronism.
The negotiators of the Frente de Todos, the chief of staff (and mayor in use of leave) Martín Insaurralde, the vice-governor Verónica Magario, the general secretary of the government Federico Thea, the minister of Government Teresa García and the camper deputy César Valicenti hold conversations with the mayor of Lanús Néstor Grindetti, Garro from La Plata and the radicals Miguel Fernández (mayor of Trenque Lauquen) and Maximiliano Abad (president of the party at the provincial level).
Allan y de la Torre’s project has a better chance of succeeding than the one presented in the Lower House of the Legislature earlier this month by Deputy Walter Aberca, of the FDT, to repeal the law of Vidal. The opposition plan it also fits Peronism: will allow all mayors who have governed since 2015 can stand for a new term.
Along the same lines, a Peronist participating in the negotiations sums up with brutal sincerity why the Allan-De la Torre bill has a good chance of being approved and imagines a judicial resolution. “Peronism would have liked indefinite reelection, but it takes one more mandate. Those of the PRO and the UCR follow one more mandate and rearrange forces. Several believe that finally the Supreme Court will say that it is unconstitutional to limit mandates, which is a power of the Constitution, “he explains.
Ritondo and part of the PRO They believe that the values of the party founded by Mauricio Macri are at stake. In the city they continue to clutch their heads when they remember that Mendoza’s governor Rodolfo Suarez was elected as a substitute senator in the recent election. “If we forget what we are doing politics for, it is very easy for us to make wrong decisions. The issue of elections is not a matter of leaders, but of how we can tell the people that we comply with what we promised: more democracy, more oxygenation without barons or owners of the votes. That’s Juntos, ”says Ritondo. According to the surveys they handle, 75 percent of the people oppose indefinite re-elections. The funny thing is that they all say they are pursuing the same goal.
In vidalism they take away the drama from the vote. They believe that there is animosity from mayors and allies against the former governor, who changed district but maintains interference in the province. The coin is in the air.