Jujuy governor Morales announces presidential campaign

Morales, also head of the Radical Civic Union party, called for an “end to kirchnerism”

Jujuy governor Gerardo Morales at his campaign launch event. Source: Télam.

Jujuy governor and Radical Civic Union (UCR) party president Gerardo Morales launched his presidential bid at an event in Gran Rex theater in Buenos Aires, surrounded by party leaders and representatives.

With the slogan “turning Argentina around”, the provincial leader took aim at the Frente de Todos government, saying it would leave the country “upside down”. He called President Alberto Fernández “the worst [President] in history” and accused his government of failing to prioritize the fight against “corruption and impunity”.

Morales also took aim at the Vice President during his speech, which lasted around half an hour. “It’s time Cristina Fernández de Kirchner went home and stopped interfering in politics,” he said. In a tweet, he called for an “end to kirchnerism”.

With his announcement, Morales joins the list of pre-candidates who will compete in August’s primary elections to be opposition coalition Juntos por el Cambio’s (JxC) presidential candidate. He will be up against Buenos Aires mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, who announced his campaign in February. 

Elisa Carrió of Coalición Cívica (Civic Coalition), a smaller party within the opposition alliance, also announced her intention to run earlier this month, but is not expected to win, and tweeted yesterday that she “congratulates and supports” Morales’s candidacy. Regarding the elections, he said that JxC would be capable of running the country under the leadership of a “Radical” president, in reference to his party, with “authority, leadership, character and conviction”, and called for the “re-establishment of order”.

The UCR is one of the two main parties in JxC, alongside Republican Proposal (PRO). It has traditionally held centrist social-democratic and developmentalist views, although analysts feel its alliance with PRO has brought it further to the right.

“I am willing to fight whatever battles are necessary to turn the Republic of Argentina around,” he said, “and I’m not afraid of doing that because I did it in Jujuy, a province that was considered impossible, and today it has been transformed by betting on order, a culture of work and effort; where corruption in is prison with Milagro Sala.”

Social leader Milagro Sala has been in detention for seven years, first in prison and then under house arrest, after being convicted of siphoning off funds from the social movement in which she was an activist, among a series of other charges. However, many human rights groups regard her detention as politically motivated.

Morales, who is also a former senator, said that the UCR represented the “energy and federalism” of the opposition coalition because of its geographic distribution and the contributions of its governors across Argentina. 

He said that he would transform the “productive matrix” of the country, giving a list of examples of the projects carried out during his tenure of nearly eight years in Jujuy.

Morales also set his sights on the issue of insecurity. Referring to growing violence related to drug trafficking in the city of Rosario, Santa Fe, he asked: “What’s the president doing?”

The Jujuy governor asked for an end to politicians’ immunity from prosecution, saying: “Cristina Fernández de Kircher would be in prison and politics would stop being a refuge for the corrupt.” He added that he would end the possibility to pardon people with convictions for corruption and femicide.

He described the UCR as the party of “rights, honesty, and principles” within Juntos por el Cambio, which he described as a “tool for transformation”, before declaring that kirchnerism would not “break the spirit of the Argentine people”.


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