Presidential hopeful and former security minister Patricia Bullrich has requested leave from her role as leader of the right-wing party, Propuesta Republicana (PRO), in order to campaign for president.
“With an electoral process drawing near and in order to be coherent with the values of truth and transparency, I have asked to take leave of the PRO presidency,” she announced on social media Friday morning.
“It has been a great privilege to lead the party in these years.”
Bullrich, 66, was security minister during Mauricio Macri’s government from 2015-2019, where she pushed tough policies on crime. She also served as Labor Minister under Fernando de la Rua from October 2000-October 2001, and has been a deputy for Buenos Aires city twice.
PRO is the largest party in opposition coalition, Juntos por el Cambio (JxC). Bullrich is seen as representing the hard right of the party, compared with presidential rivals María Eugenia Vidal, deputy for Buenos Aires city and former Buenos Aires province governor, and Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, currently Buenos Aires mayor, who represents the center-right wing of the party.
The announcement comes after a week of infighting in PRO and JxC as a whole. Rodríguez Larreta announced on Monday that he would split national and city elections into separate ballots, with city elections using electronic voting.
Macri and Vidal took to social media to express “deep disappointment” over the decision, which they claimed meant changing the rules of the elections at the eleventh hour. Analysts say that because of how ballots in Argentina are designed, the decision could translate into fewer votes for Macri’s favored candidate, his cousin Jorge Macri, and give an advantage to candidates from smaller parties, such as Martin Lousteau of the Radical Civic Union (UCR).
It is the first time Mauricio Macri and Rodríguez Larreta have publicly agreed over the decisions. The former president has not backed any of the candidates.