Argentina 2023 elections countdown: Scioli secures backing, Bullrich names VP candidate

Rodríguez Larreta enlisted former JxC vice-presidential candidate Pichetto at the top of his deputy ballot

The primary elections deadline for candidate definition in Argentina is coming up: coalitions have until Saturday at midnight to present the tickets that will compete for the presidential nomination. Negotiations are expected to go on until the last minute, but some announcements have been made regarding Patricia Bullrich’s VP candidate, Ambassador to Brazil Daniel Scioli’s candidacy and Horacio Larreta’s deputy candidates.

Scioli’s endorsement

The main parties of the ruling coalition, Unión por la Patria (UxP), gave Scioli the required backing he needed to run for president in the primaries. Support from a certain number of coalition parties is needed to get candidacy endorsement, which is earned through signatures given by party members. 

In order to be a UxP candidate, you need 50% of Partido Justicialista affiliates signatures, and at least 20% from some combination of Renovation Front, Nuevo Encuentro, Partido para la Victoria, Kolina and Frente Grande affiliates, the main coalition parties. At least three of them need to give their support for a candidate to be eligible to run.

Initially, Scioli didn’t have enough support to be a candidate. That is why he took the UxP rules of procedure to court, regarding the required number of votes deputy and senator candidates needed in the primaries to be eligible for the general elections, and to demand the candidacy endorsement rules be changed.

UxP’s main parties reluctantly agreed to change these rules, and kirchnerist coalition leaders issued a statement explaining why they decided to endorse Scioli.

Martín Sabbatella, Máximo Kirchner, Mario Secco and Carlos Castagneto this Wednesday. Source: Máximo Kirchner’s press team.

“For those of us who make up Unión por la Patria, it’s strange that someone who aspires to lead the country couldn’t get the required support to run for office. However, it is even stranger that, even though they obtained that support —because without it they wouldn’t be able to compete otherwise— Daniel Scioli and Alberto Ángel Fernández have taken the rules of procedure, which they voluntarily approved, to court,” they said.

“The judicialization of politics, which Peronism has always emphatically condemned, not only hinders the electoral process at a time when conflict is growing, but it also works in favor of political and economic interests that go against the rights of Argentines,” they added.

Scioli will formally announce his candidacy this Thursday for the Unidos Triunfaremos ballot, which will compete against the other UxP candidates.

Bullrich names a vice-presidential candidate

PRO presidential candidate Patricia Bullrich will formally announce that Radical Party member and former Mendoza national deputy Luis Petri will be her vice-president candidate on their Juntos por el Cambio ballot.

“We will make the announcement today (Thursday). We are coordinating details on what our team will be,” she told Radio Mitre.

She also stated that the other possible candidates she was considering as running mates will have relevant roles in her potential government: Buenos Aires province local deputy Maximiliano Abad, national senator Luis Naidenoff, and national deputy Ricardo López Murphy. Those roles will also be announced this afternoon.

Patricia Bullrich named her VP candidate
Patricia Bullrich named her VP candidate

Petri and Bullrich have similar views on security. Petri was one of the authors of the “Chocobar bill”, a 2020 initiative that sought to change Article 34 of the Penal Code to establish “a legal presumption of duty fulfillment” for police officers who “defend a victim’s life, physical integrity, freedom or property” while intervening in a criminal act while off duty.

The project was created after the Luis Chocobar case. Chocobar is a police officer convicted of murder for killing a teenage boy who had stabbed a tourist he was mugging in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of La Boca. Petri intended to change the Penal Code so that other officers in similar situations would not face legal consequences.

Petri is part of a UCR leaders group called “Malbec Group”, which is aligned with the more tough-on-crime PRO faction led by Bullrich. They have differences with other coalition members like Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta or senator Martín Lousteau, who are not hard liners in this area.

Larreta enlists Pichetto

Former senator Miguel Ángel Pichetto, an anti-kirchnerist Peronist, will lead PRO presidential candidate Horacio Rodríguez Larreta’s national deputy ballot alongside Silvia Lospenatto. This PRO ballot will compete against other Juntos por el Cambio (JxC) ballots in the primaries.

Mauricio Macri and Miguel Ángel Pichetto in the 2019 campaign. Source: Juntos por el Cambio press team.

Pichetto also ran as Mauricio Macri’s vice-presidential candidate in 2019. He leads the Encuentro Republicano Federal (ERF) party, a member of JxC. Lospenatto is currently a national PRO deputy.

—with information from Télam.


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