In a day of shifting alliances that left Juntos por el Cambio (JxC) fighting dissolution, the governors of JxC released a communiqué calling for the coalition to remain united and vowing not to back either candidate in the upcoming presidential run-off, saying that choosing the next president “is not their duty.” The statement came as a response to the position adopted by Patricia Bullrich, who announced Wednesday morning that she would back La Libertad Avanza (LLA) presidential candiate Javier Milei.
“Our duty right now is not to determine who the next president will be, but to reaffirm the core values of Juntos por el Cambio and become the main opposition in Congress […] devoted to protecting institutions and monitoring the government that is elected on November 19,” read the press statement backed by JxC’s 10 governors and governors-elect.
The JxC leaders listed their criticisms of the current government but made a point of saying that opposing “economic populism” did not mean “surrendering their identity to the alchemist of the day.”
“You will always see us defending public education and access for all Argentines to quality public health care. We will not contribute to a greater shattering of people’s income by forcing a dollarization without dollars through an aggressive devaluation of our currency,” they said, referencing the economic plans of Milei.
The communiqué was released Wednesday evening following a meeting in Buenos Aires City. Rogelio Frigerio, Leandro Zdero, Alfredo Cornejo, Ignacio Torres, and Carlos Sadir (the governors-elect of Entre Ríos, Chaco, Mendoza, Chubut, and Jujuy, respectively) were present, as well as Corrientes Governor Gustavo Valdés and Jujuy Governor Gerardo Morales.
Their position was in line with other JxC factions who also called for neutrality in the run-off, among them the Unión Cívica Radical (UCR) party and BA City mayor and PRO party member Horacio Rodríguez Larreta.
The UCR released a communiqué saying they would support neither Sergio Massa (Unión por la Patria, UxP) nor Milei in the run-off, given that “neither of them can guarantee a future of progress for Argentina.” Larreta gave a press conference where he stated he wouldn’t support either candidate, saying “that both [Massa and Milei] are very bad for Argentines.”
The flurry of statements from JxC members kicked off Wednesday morning when Bullrich held a press conference to announce she would back Milei in a personal capacity, implying that her stance did not reflect PRO or JxC’s collective positions. Answering a question from the Herald, the JxC presidential candidate said that she and the libertarian economist had decided to “forgive each other.”
“Yesterday I had a meeting with Javier Milei where we had a conversation in private about those statements, and we forgave each other mutually,” she told the Herald. “We think that today, our homeland needs us to be capable of forgiving each other, because what’s at stake is very important. It was in private, a chat between the two of us, and I think it’s right for us to keep it private, but it was an apology that I think was sincere.”
One of strongest critics of Bullrich’s positioning was Morales, who is not only a member of JxC but also president of the UCR.
“I watched [Bullrich’s] press conference and was embarrassed for her,” said Morales in a press conference. “We won’t participate in a government permeated by Kirchnerism [but] obviously Milei is worse.
“It’s a leap into the abyss and a path to Argentina’s darkest night,” he stated.