Vidal confirms she will not run for president

“I know that multiple candidacies only generate division and uncertainty”

Former governor of Buenos Aires María Eugenia Vidal announced this evening that she will not be running for president. 

“I know that multiple candidacies only generate division and uncertainty. Individual projects cannot be above the whole,” she wrote in a tweet.

Vidal is the second high-profile leader of the Propuesta Republicana (PRO) right-wing opposition party to withdraw after former President Mauricio Macri did so in March. She recently called for the PRO to “scrap all candidacies” and “start over.” 

Her decision to withdraw comes amid uncertainty over who will be the JxC presidential candidate — with particular tensions surrounding the former president’s cousin Jorge Macri running — and after weeks of infighting sparked by Larreta announcing separate ballots for city and national elections in Buenos Aires City in October. 

Following Vidal’s decision, two PRO presidential candidates remain: Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, representing the “moderate” wing of the party, and Macri’s former Security Minister, hardliner Patricia Bullrich who has taken leave from her position as head of the PRO in order to campaign.

There are four other candidates in the Juntos por el Cambio (JxC) opposition coalition, of which the PRO is a key part — Gerardo Morales and Facundo Manes, from the Unión Cívica Radical (UCR); Elisa Carrió, from the Coalición Cívica (CC), and Miguel Ángel Pichetto, from the Encuentro Republicano Federal (ERF).

Vidal said her decision mas not made “behind a desk” but “on the streets.”

“I have been traveling around the country for a year and a half and, although I am proud of the potential of our Argentina and the drive of its people, I cannot ignore the anguish, fear and sadness that I feel in each province,” she said.

“‘Don’t fight between each other,’ ‘Be united’, [people] told me in every place. Because I listened, I decided that, this time, I will not be a candidate for president.”

In her tweet, Vidal said she hopes Argentines will vote for JxC’s candidate. 

“It’s the only political space with a real team and the necessary experience to move the country forward,” she wrote. She also said that she will keep working in the coalition despite not being a candidate.

Vidal’s decision was preceded by statements by other PRO leaders today. 

“It’s her personal decision to not take part in the competition, but she will sure participate in the process somehow,” PRO president Federico Angelini said today during an interview with Radio 990.

Angelini ruled out the possibility of Vidal running for elections in the city of Buenos Aires, something that Vidal herself has not confirmed yet.

“María Eugenia is a great leader, she has a bright future where I think she can contribute her grain of sand,” Angelini said. “Today our candidate is Jorge Macri, even she has said so.”

Larreta also chimed in on the possibility of her running to replace him as mayor.

“I value her very much, I respect her very much and she is one of the best political leaders Argentina has. I also have a personal relationship and affection for her for decades,” he said this morning. “But these are her decisions.”

Vidal is closer to Larreta’s wing in the PRO than Bullrich’s — even before her career in politics, she was a member of Grupo Sophia, a think thank founded by Larreta. Nonetheless, she spearheaded criticism against him for separating the city and national elections.

“I will not be an accomplice of that,” Vidal said at the time.

In 2015, Vidal became the first woman to be elected as governor of Buenos Aires province and the first non-Peronist politician to hold that office in 20 years. In 2019, she ran forreelection and lost to current Governor Axel Kicillof, a Peronist. Before that, Vidal had been Vice Mayor in Buenos Aires City during Macri’s second mayoral term.


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald