Justicialist Party to hold elections to replace Alberto Fernández

The Peronist leadership also called for the rejection of Milei’s omnibus bill and megadecree — but stopped short of naming candidates

The National Council of the Justicialist Party (Partido Justicialista, or PJ) has unanimously approved party elections on November 17 to replace former President Alberto Fernández, who is on leave as head of the party. 

The motion also reflects Monday’s decision by Máximo Kirchner to hold elections on that day for Buenos Aires province’s PJ, of which he is the current head. The meeting also urged legislators to reject the omnibus bill, with a mobilization the day the project is voted on.

On Tuesday, at a meeting at the party’s Matheu Street headquarters in Buenos Aires, the composition of the Political Action Committee was also defined, in times of dispersion and infighting between Kirchnerist movement La Cámpora and Buenos Aires Province Governor Axel Kicillof, the most politically influential figure within the PJ. 

It is also a moment of unusual public appearance by Cristina Kirchner, who intervened in the internal conflict and took a tougher stance against President Javier Milei. Likewise, Alberto Fernández was wavering in his position after his presidential term, which was criticized from within, and had faced pressure to step aside as head of the national PJ.

Those present at the Matheu meeting included:

  • Axel Kicillof 
  • Gildo Insfrán (Formosa governor)
  • Ricardo Quintela (La Rioja governor)
  • Héctor Daer and Pablo Moyano, leaders of Argentina’s CGT trade union federation
  • National deputies Santiago Cafiero and Hugo Yasky
  • Fernando Espinoza (mayor of La Matanza)
  • National senator Eduardo “Wado” De Pedro

Several Peronist former governors and functionaries were also present. 

Among the absentees was Governor Sergio Ziliotto of La Pampa, one of the most active members of the league, who is preparing for a provincial party congress on Saturday.

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Motions approved at the meeting include urging all Peronist lawmakers to reject the omnibus bill (also known as the Bases Law) and Milei’s mega-decree 70/23, as well as a call to protest the day the bill is voted on, one of the meeting attendees told the Herald’s sister publication, Ámbito. He added that the composition of the Political Action Committee would be “broad with all sectors, with names proposed by the party’s vice presidents.”

A source from Kicillof’s camp said the proceedings were “only about institutionalizing the party for what lies ahead, not a political dispute.” A contact at Instituto Patria, a think tank funded by Cristina Kirchner, agreed, referring to the imminent assumption of right-wing former President Mauricio Macri as head of the PRO as an example. “They distribute party positions and Macri will decide. It is necessary to organize the parties, especially in this context,” they said.

For now, there have been no proposals for candidacies, and all sectors say that it is not the right time. 

On Monday at 6:30 AM, ahead of the National Council meeting, Máximo Kirchner posted a social media statement by the official account of the Buenos Aires Province PJ. He said it was “operationally necessary” to hold national and provincial elections on the same day to promote voter turnout. Buenos Aires Province is the most populous in the country, home to 37% of the electoral roll.

Fernando Gray, mayor of Esteban Echeverría and openly opposed to the La Cámpora leadership, criticized Máximo, who is the former president’s son. He accused the organization of “appropriating the structure” of the BA province Justicialist Party, ignoring “elementary party rules, such as complying with the basic requirements for any companion to be candidates” and “bulldozing everything” to bring forward party elections by a year. 

“This story began, continued, and surely will end, as is often the case in these situations: badly,” Gray said in a response statement.

The Instituto Patria did not lend the dispute much weight, although they were annoyed by “those who criticize vertical methods when they themselves were once beneficiaries.”

Originally published in Ámbito.com


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