As expected, the Victory Front’s (FpV) decision to appoint Legal and Technical Secretary Carlos Zannini as Daniel Scioli’s running mate has created shockwaves throughout the Argentine political landscape. So much so, in fact, that upon acknowledging the announcement, Interior and Transportation Minister Florencio Randazzo — Scioli’s contender — officially withdrew his candidacy after meeting with President Cristina Kirchner. He also rejected her offer to run for Buenos Aires Province governor (in an email, no less).
Cabinet Chief Anibal Fernández, who is also running for the province’s gubernatorial office, confirmed the news.
“Florencio withdrew his presidential bid and does not want to be the Victory Front’s candidate for Buenos Aires Province,” he told a group of journalist freezing their asses off minutes before 7 AM today. (Winter has finally come, you’ll notice if you step outside.)
The owner of the most famous moustache in Argentine political history also cleared up rumors alleging Randazzo had resigned from his position in the administration.
“He will continue to be Transportation Minister,” Fernández said. He also took advantage of the air time to confirm the fact that he is still on track to try to get a hold of the Province’s most important office.
Containing 40 percent of the country’s population, Buenos Aires is a key province in the country. Currently, four Kirchnerite candidates are vying for the gubernatorial seat. They are: the aforementioned Cabinet Chief Anibal Fernández, Chamber of Deputies President Julián Domínguez, Security Secretary Sergio Berni and La Matanza Mayor Fernando Espinoza. (La Matanza is the province’s largest electoral district). The FvP hopes to have the least amount of candidates possible in order to not divide Kirchnerite votes. Let’s recall that a month ago, Cristina requested her party’s candidates cool off under a “humbleness shower” and put the party’s interest above their own.
Several outlets got a hold of the now-famous e-mail Randazzo sent the President, in which he justified his decision and confirmed he would not run for the Province.
“I am a man of my word. I fervently believe in my word’s value and in the commitments I make… For this reason, I can’t run for Buenos Aires Province governor. And as I’ve already said publicly, after December 10, I will continue to work for the project as a militant,” he wrote, thus implying he wouldn’t seek new office during the next presidential term.
The email also expressly stated it was the president’s decision he withdraw.
“You’re the one who leads this project,” Randazzo wrote.
“I accept, sadly but without the slightest grudge, not being able to run for president, and I celebrate the decision to have Carlos Zannini be the guarantor of everything that has been achieved, so that none of it will be lost. He is a friend we can trust,” Randazzo added, leaving the door open to question whether Zannini will work along Scioli or control him, representing the president’s will in the Casa Rosada once she’s physically gone.
“Just like you asked me, I’ll accompany you until the end of your term, until December 10, to continue our work. Because my commitment to you, Cristina, it’s unbreakable. I respect you as a militant, admire you as President and appreciate you as a person,” the email sentimentally concludes.
The opposition praised Randazzo’s move, calling his rejection of the governor bid “dignified.” Of course — not missing a beat — they also jumped at the opportunity to dig at their political nemesis.
“This is something we rarely see within that party. Finally, here’s someone who’s consistent. I’m surprised,” Buenos Aires Mayor and Republican Proposal presidential hopeful Mauricio Macri said.
Saturday is the deadline for parties to sign up their official candidates for the upcoming elections. There are still many key questions left to be answered, such as who will join opposition leader Macri as vice presidential candidate or whether First Son Máximo Kirchner will run for office.
Stay tuned and warm.