Tensions rise between La Libertad Avanza and PRO amid conflict with governors

Patricia Bullrich released a statement backing Milei — but key PRO leaders such as Mauricio Macri were missing from the list of signatories

Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, president of the right-wing PRO party, released a statement backing President Javier Milei on Sunday amid an unprecedented conflict with the country’s governors. 

However, the statement lacked the signatures of key party members, a sign that tensions between ruling coalition La Libertad Avanza (LLA) and PRO — its greatest political ally — appear to have reached boiling point. 

Chubut Governor Ignacio Torres (PRO) said Friday he would stop delivering oil and gas to the rest of the country unless his province receives its share of federal tax funds, which the Milei administration has cut. Milei called Torres’ warning a “Chavista threat” on Saturday, escalating a conflict which so far has no resolution in sight.

All eight PRO governors plus Buenos Aires City Mayor Jorge Macri released a statement backing Torres on Friday. The list includes some who had previously expressed a desire to strengthen relations with Milei, such as Rogelio Frigerio of Entre Ríos.

Governors from the rest of the country, representing a spectrum of political affiliations, soon followed suit: the national government’s decision to cut transport subsidies and other funds has affected them all. The only holdout is Tucumán Governor Osvaldo Jaldo. 

Bullrich responded to this unusual alliance with a document saying “PRO cannot endorse any attack on property, nor leave the country without energy, which are paths of no return. That this extra-institutional mechanism has been met with enthusiasm by seditious Kirchnerism makes it clear that PRO cannot support this.”

Signatories, who include Bullrich and other PRO members, wrote they were “appalled at so many governors resisting participation in the fiscal effort necessary to prevent a hyperinflationary crisis” that would mainly affect the Argentine people, rather than the government. 

LLA and PRO are not formally allied. However, PRO has backed the government in Congress, giving full support to Milei’s omnibus bill state reform package. On January 31, ahead of the congressional debate on the bill, PRO’s leader in deputies, Cristian Ritondo, said the party identified with most of the bill and had to “help the government” pass it.

The relationship between LLA and PRO began after October’s general elections. Milei unexpectedly came second to former Economy Minister Sergio Massa, while Bullrich, who was also running for president, came third.

Bullrich announced that she and her former running-mate Luis Petri would back Milei in the run-off. Petri is now defense minister.

Bullrich’s statement also criticized the 2015-2019 Mauricio Macri administration, in which she served as security minister. The former president is arguably PRO’s strongest leader. “We advanced too slowly, with excessive caution, and paid with a crisis that stopped change from continuing,” the text reads, referring to the Peronist government of Alberto Fernández that followed Macri’s presidency.

The document shows that tension is also aflame within PRO. It marks a contrast not only between Bullrich and the governors, but also between the minister and the party’s other leaders. Macri, for example, did not sign the document or comment publicly on the issue.

Lawmakers such as Fernando Iglesias and Gerardo Milman signed the communiqué, but some key names are missing. Ritondo and fellow deputies Silvia Lospennato and María Eugenia Vidal — governor of Buenos Aires Province during Macri’s presidency — did not sign it.


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