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News roundup 11/5: All about elections

While the world looks at the US, local parties make first moves for '21 and '23

By | [email protected] | November 5, 2020 1:17pm

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While the world’s eyes were focused on whether Biden or Trump took the US presidential race, in Argentina the first noises about the coming electoral cycles started to appear, more than one year after Alberto Fernández’s defeat of Mauricio Macri:

-Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta moved one step further into the construction of a possible presidential bid yesterday, in a joint event with multiple key figures of the opposition, most of them also critical of former president Macri. Larreta was the main speaker in an event organized by the small centrist MID party, delivering a centrist speech and surrounded by multiple centrist figures including BA City Senator Martín Lousteau, former Buenos Aires Province governor María Eugenia Vidal, former Macri Interior minister Rogelio Frigerio, former Sergio Massa ally Margarita Stolbizer, and others more to the right like former Economy minister Ricardo López Murphy.

-Peronism, meanwhile, is testing the waters for the possibility of reforming the voting system to eliminate the Simultaneous Mandatory Open Primary (PASO) system, created by Néstor Kirchner in 2009 amid the party’s emerging divide. With Peronism now mostly united, the ruling party is thinking that the mandatory open primaries, which usually take place two months before the main election, could now be a more useful tool for the opposition to solve its internal differences, so some of its figures have come out to question their utility.

-Speaking of reforming election rules, Buenos Aires Province Peronist mayors are pressuring President Alberto Fernández to help them re-allow indefinite re-election in their municipalities, eliminated by Vidal and Massa during Macri’s presidential period, in a move that was aimed at reducing their grip on some local strongholds. The surprise twist? The Kirchners might be thinking of siding with Macri and Vidal on this one.

-In other news, Speaker of the House Sergio Massa is leading talks with representatives of pro-choice and pro-life movements ahead of what could be a new abortion debate in the country. President Alberto Fernández wanted to move ahead with a bill to legalize abortion during the first months of his presidency, but the COVID-19 pandemic halted the imminent presentation of the bill in March, and now Peronism is weighing whether the political timing is right to try again or if that might alienate some of its pro-life allies.