Despite Elisa “Lilita” Carrió’s crushing announcement to run for National Deputy for the City of Buenos Aires under Cambiemos, which former ambassador to the United States Martín Lousteau had his sights set on, Lousteau appears to still be considering running, stirring tension between ECO and PRO parties in the coalition.
In an interview with Radio Mitre, Lousteau said, “I believe that Argentina does very well in [primaries]. Do not have fear of the competition.” Subtext: primaries might be a space to vocalize resistance to PRO’s dominance within Cambiemos, which Lousteau would hope to capitalize on with the ECO party. Given that Macri runs as PRO, and the provincial and city heads of Buenos Aires are PRO, Lousteau would likely be a bit weary if winning the seat as National Deputy of the city was his objective.
But that has a near-zero chance of happening, so Lousteau’s real objective for appearing on the 2017 Cambiemos primary ballot appears to be divisive action within Cambiemos: “If you look at the polls, I [doubled] in voting intention, [but] I don’t care. Let’s see the nuances that are in the space, that is something that can be debated in the primaries,” Lousteau affirms.
Lousteau also assures voters that he is still welcome in Cambiemos, having met with the president a mere two days before the interview to discuss short-term issues. Lousteau was meant to facilitate Macri’s time in his visit to the White House, but Lousteau throws off his hasty departure from tension with Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña and Chancellor Susana Malcorra. He also insists he is close with the Radical Civic Union, despite it’s public support of Carrió for the city.
While it seems Lousteau is imagining more Cambiemos support than is evident, he stands by his belief in offering Argentines options outside polarized parties: “I do not like the divide; it impedes thinking. We are not going to resolve any problem in Argentina if we continue closed… I do not share the polarization tactic. The divide is a catastrophe that the country needs to [overcome].”
Poetic, to say the least. While Lousteau doesn’t need a nod from Cambiemos to be on the ballot, it certainly would help his cause to have a mild case against Carrió. When asked about his relationship with the The National Deputy Co-founder, he said, “I respect her a lot; she has a very powerful voice. But the primaries are not very intense, it is a debate inside the same political space. We have already competed in a primary in 2013 and we finished campaigning together. Nothing bad happened in those primaries.”
Nothing bad happened? Cut to video footage of Carrió getting fed up at a 2013 ECO press conference, when Carrió up and left mid-speech. Yeah, they worked real well together.