Shake-up in Milei’s team as he adds his mother to electoral board

Two of the economist’s closest collaborators left his electoral board. Sources say it’s a technicality so they can run for office

On Thursday, two days before the inscription deadline for candidates, libertarian presidential hopeful Javier Milei removed two key collaborators from his coalition La Libertad Avanza’s Buenos Aires province electoral board and replaced them with his mother and a lawyer.

The move prompted a storm of speculation, but sources close to the matter told the Herald Milei’s allies merely resigned because they plan to run in the elections and cannot do so while on the board.

Milei’s nationwide and Buenos Aires political organizers, Carlos Kikuchi and Sebastián Pareja, were replaced on the board by the candidate’s mother, Alicia Luján Lucich, who is not a member of any political party, and lawyer Julián Akerman, who is not registered to vote in Buenos Aires province.

The Electoral Court of La Plata, which is in charge of the elections in Buenos Aires province, flagged Lucich and Akerman’s designations as irregular.

Milei’s inclusion of his mother is not the first time he has put a family member in a position of power in La Libertad Avanza. His sister Karina Milei, whom Javier publicly calls El Jefe (the boss), is his campaign manager, and he has said that if elected, Karina’s role would be that of a “first lady.”

“Twitter nonsense”

One of the first people to announce the change was Carlos Maslatón, a former Milei ally, on the TV channel C5N. “Milei’s two main political organizers, who have taken him to today’s pre-electoral disaster, Carlos Kikuchi and Sebastián Pareja, have just resigned,” Maslatón said on Wednesday. “Were they for real, or just ‘infiltrators’?”

Kikuchi and Pareja’s resignation follows the departure of his former chief communications officer, Mario Russo, who left La Libertad Avanza two weeks ago. “The party is being dynamited,” Russo said in an interview with Radio Perfil.

However, sources in La Libertad Avanza, told the Herald that both Kikuchi and Pareja are still members of the coalition, and that they resigned from its Buenos Aires province electoral board to avoid potential legal incompatibilities since they plan to run in this year’s elections – Kikuchi for provincial senator in Buenos Aires, and Pareja, as provincial deputy.

“They resigned to become candidates because you can’t be both a candidate and a member of the electoral board,” a source told the Herald. “Kikuchi is still part of the party’s national board.” He said the social media scandal that followed their departure from the board could have confused “thousands of young activists” into thinking that two key party members were out. 

“It’s Twitter nonsense,” he added.

Milei also announced this week that journalist Marcela Pagano would run for provincial deputy for La Libertad Avanza in Buenos Aires.

“We want to govern Argentina to materialize the ideas of freedom. And Marcela is a symbol of this, since she chose to defend her ideas and thoughts, even if it cost her her job,” Milei said. Two months ago, Pagano departed from the TV channel A24 and said that she was fired after “enduring seven months of pressure,” although the station stated that Pagano was fired because she had mistreated her colleagues.

“I am going to work in a political space where there are real people and not an elite that does not know what most Argentines suffer,” Pagano said in a statement.

In a week of reshuffling within the libertarian coalition, José Luis Ammaturo, who would have run for mayor of Quilmes, resigned from the party on Friday.

“Unfortunately, I have found that the party does not meet my expectations of being a driver of the country’s transformation from Liberalism, where honesty and aptitude should be of paramount importance,” Ammaturo said in a statement.


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