Frente de Todos governors demand “a single candidate”

Provincial leaders share Economy Minister Sergio Massa’s position on the primaries, clashing with President Alberto Fernández

Over a dozen governors belonging to the Frente de Todos (FdT) ruling coalition called for the definition of a single presidential candidate for the upcoming primaries, during a meeting in the Federal Investment Council (CFI) in Buenos Aires.

“We demand the construction of a unified ballot,” said a communiqué released by the governors present. 

This refers to current tensions between FdT politicians over whether or not there should be multiple candidates in this year’s primeries (PASO in Spanish) — some see it as healthy competition while others consider that it would show weakness in a tough electoral year. In this case, the governors showed support for the single-candidate camp.

With 20 days until the deadline to define candidates, there isn’t one clear contender to represent the coalition — so far, the only ones to have declared their candidacies are current Presidential Chief of Staff Agustín Rossi and Juan Grabois, leader of the Patria Grande Front. 

There are also rumors that Economy Minister Sergio Massa and Interior Minister Eduardo ‘Wado’ De Pedro could be put forward, having been seen together at an event two weeks ago. Buenos Aires Province Governor Axel Kicillof, who was present at today’s meeting, is also considered to be a potentially strong candidate.

“We discussed the issue of politics and it was a broad debate,” Chaco Governor Jorge Capitanich told press including Télam after the meeting, adding that they would make “a maximum effort to reach a consensus.”

The provincial governors also emphasized that the coalition’s electoral strategy should be “of a federal character, summoning other political forces.” They proposed the creation of a “political action commission” to build a “government plan in which development and social inclusion prevail.”

“From now on, through this commission, especially governors that don’t have imminent elections to campaign for will seek to advance the definition of a plan and then a methodology for political action,” said Capitanich, who explained that the one of the commission’s objectives would be to “deepen dialogue” between the parties already in FdT as well as “eventual extensions.” 

Other provinces represented at the meeting were Catamarca, Chubut, Entre Ríos, Formosa, La Pampa, La Rioja, Misiones, San Juan, Santa Cruz, Santiago del Estero, Tierra del Fuego and Tucumán.

Source: Télam

The single-candidate schism 

The governors’ call for a single candidate is in line with Massa’s position, which he made clear at last month’s annual summit of the United States Chamber of Commerce in Argentina (Amcham Argentina).

“Exposing in primary elections whether the government has differences or not seems to me like a very serious mistake. It generates uncertainty for the people,” the minister said. “Part of providing certainty is not exposing its internal debates to society, we have to fight behind closed doors.”

On June 10, Massa’s party, Frente Renovador (Renewal Front) is holding a congress where it will reaffirm that position, sources close to the Minister told the Herald.

For his part, President Alberto Fernández has consistently championed holding primary elections with multiple candidates. 

“We must have a mechanism of democratic organization for the space,” Fernández said one month ago, according to Télam. “And this organization can only be achieved in one way: with the people’s vote and not with three or four leaders sitting down to decide.”

FdT has to decide its candidates or candidate for the elections by June 24. Primary elections are set to take place on August 13.

—with information from Télam


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