“I believe there’s a need to build unity because these people [the Mauricio Macri administration] have fed off the workers’ movement’s lack of unity; I feel the need to unite as much as to limit the neo-liberal austerity measures.” With those words, former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner made it clear 20 days ago that she was willing to compete in October’s midterm elections, even though she had denied having any intention to do so a week earlier.
However, there is talk that this condition she imposed on herself could come back to haunt her in the very near future. Why? When the Interior and Transportation Minister during her administrations, Florencio Randazzo, refused to drop his bid to compete against her, she has allegedly begun to consider creating her own party to avoid competing in a primary election. So much for unity.
For the sake of context, it’s important to note that the move hasn’t been confirmed officially and the former president hasn’t made any mention about her potential candidacy since that interview, but just about everyone who speaks on her behalf came out to highlight the importance of reaching “unity” and without mentioning her opponents, said that they are willing to welcome back everyone who left their side with open arms. “Those who left can come back,” said Fernández’s son and National Deputy — Máximo Kirchner two days ago.
However, Randazzo again rejected the offer. “Unity but with primaries, same as what will happen in Buenos Aires City. Santa Fe and Mendoza,” he told PJ leader in the Buenos Aires Province Fernándo Espinoza, Clarín reports. And since there’s no legal trick to prevent him from doing this, the former president could very well be weighing the option to abandon the party to create her own.
Press reports that today Fernández will meet with her allies in the Patria Institute to formally create an electoral front. It would be comprised of 20 parties loyal to the former president and would be called “Frente Ciudadano Para la Victoria” (Citizens Front for Victory), making reference to the speech she delivered outside the federal courthouses of Comodoro Py, when she in fact called her supporters to create a “citizens front” to “resist” the government’s social and economic policies.
Some political analysts expect Randazzo to look for a potential loophole that would allow him to force the former president into competing against him: if the Citizens Front officially includes the PJ in its alliance, the former minister could sign up to compete representing this new party to achieve his goal. However, this is not likely, considering that Fernández’s faction is willing to go through all this trouble to avoid exactly that.
June 24th is the deadline for presenting the party’s tickets and their candidates. A lot is set to happen in the PJ until then.