On July 15th, Elisa Carrió said during an interview with prominent journalist Jorge Lanata that she had been contacted by Peronist politicians in March and was encouraged to leave Cambiemos to join their coalition.
Carrio, national deputy and leader of the Civic Coalition, was most recently in the news for a string of controversies ranging from her heavily-criticized comments on abortion, to a tipping scandal, to spurring intra-Cambiemos coalition fights. On Sunday, she began the interview by assuring Lanata that her alliance with President Mauricio Macri and Cambiemos was solid. To demonstrate just how secure she was in her relationship, she told Lanata how she had turned down the offer of Peronist politicians when they tried to court her a few months prior.
“In March, they asked if I was going to break with [Cambiemos] or not… someone from the PJ asked if I would join an alliance with a group of peronists, and they gave me names, one which was Julián Domínguez, [they said] ‘you are going to have a leading role,’” Carrio stated during the interview.
The PJ, or the Justicialist Party, serves as a modern-day extension of the Peronist party, which was founded by general Juan Domingo Perón in 1946. Julián Domínguez is a well-known Kirchnerite politician and current leader of the PJ.
Carrió named Domínguez, but did not reveal who exactly it was from the party that made the offer. “I told them no,” she continued. “I do not break. Because everyone is betting that I’ll break. I will not break as this is our own creation!”
Carrió then transitioned to speaking about the next presidential election, stating her loyalty to Macri but emphasizing that, if he does win, she would not be interested in holding any official position in his next administration. While Carrió did not directly mention her recent public scuffles with Radicalismo, a prominent liberal branch of the Cambiemos party, she hinted that they were making things difficult for Macri, while she gave him her full support.
“I think Macri wants re-election. I’ll support him but I have no interest in any position,” she told Lanata. She then added, “This is a unit that will not break,” referring to Cambiemos and reaffirming her loyalty to the party. However, she then said: “In this time of crisis, as we are starting the presidential elections, some [in the party] want to put the president in check. Why? So the president will give them concessions.”
Carrió also alluded to recent scandals in which the Cambiemos coalition was accused of laundering money for the 2017 midterms campaign in the Buenos Aires Province through the recipients of social welfare plans: “I want Cambiemos to win, I want there to be non-violent elections, elections that are peaceful, that are contested, that have transparency in their campaign financing, which in the Capital was achieved, although not in other places.”
During the interview, Carrió also touched upon the recent US $50 billion stand-by agreement with the IMF, the abortion debate, and her controversial statement on tipping.
On Monday morning, Julián Domínguez responded defensively to Carrió’s comments, while simultaneously neither confirming nor exactly denying claims that the PJ had tried to recruit her. Instead, Domínguez said that it was actually Carrió who had threatened to break from the coalition first, failing to mention whether the PJ had made any efforts to court her.
At 5:37 a.m., Domínguez tweeted: “@elisacarrio has accused me of presenting her with a proposal to break with the government alliance, when it was she who threatened to do so.”
He attached a La Nación article titled “Carrió threatens to break with Cambiemos but later lowered her tone and ratified her support for the government” to his tweet, citing it as evidence for his claims.
— Julián Domínguez (@DominguezJul) July 16, 2018
The article outlines the Cambiemos infighting throughout the abortion debate, and quotes Carrió as saying “next time, I’ll break [with Cambiemos]” after the bill that would legalize and decriminalize abortion in the public health system partially passed with a majority vote in Congress.
So far, Carrió has yet to respond to Domínguez’s comments.