Liberal economist and national deputy for Buenos Aires Province José Luis Espert has announced that he is in talks with members of opposition coalition Juntos por el Cambio (JxC) to join forces with them ahead of this year’s election.
“We’re talking with JxC representatives to propose the creation of a new opposition coalition,” he told the Herald, adding that he hoped the coalition would expand JxC to incorporate liberal parties, potentially changing its name.
Espert, a liberal economist, founded the party Avanza Libertad, which advocates for economic liberalism and a small State. He is unlikely to bring a large voter share if he does join forces with JxC: in 2019, he ran for president and scored 1.47% of the ballot.
However, the addition of a liberal economist who was previously allied with libertarian Javier Milei is significant in a context in which radical liberal policies are gaining social traction.
In 2021, Espert became a Congressman in the Buenos Aires Province.
“It would be an institutional arrival of the liberals in the opposition front,” he said. “There, liberals would have a strong identity – we’re not talking about joining one of their tickets, but to run with our own.”
Espert proposed that the new coalition should change its name and include the word “freedom”, a key word for the liberal party’s economic views.
Politicians he’s spoken to include former president Mauricio Macri, PRO president Patricia Bullrich, Civic Coalition founder Elisa Carrio, Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and Buenos Aires deputy María Eugenia Vidal. Milei, founder of La Libertad Avanza, the libertarian party, was invited to join these talks but did not accept.
Espert believes that JxC “need our liberal input” after what he described as their “economic failure” during Macri’s 2015-2019 presidency.
A source in JxC told the Herald that, although Espert has spoken to representatives from the opposition coalition, he hasn’t cemented any alliances within the party.
Juntos por el Cambio primaries
After Macri’s announcement on Sunday that he would not run in the elections, the members of his coalition that have announced their will to run are PRO President Patricia Bullrich, current Buenos Aires mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, Jujuy governor Gerardo Morales, former Congresswoman and Coalición Cívica founder Elisa Carrió and Congresswoman and former Buenos Aires governor María Eugenia Vidal.
Macri has not endorsed any of them, but rather remained neutral in public in order for them to compete in primaries in August 2023.