Macri’s coalition allies turn to rivals as Peronism flounders
Macri is on course for reelection, but has to worry about pleasing a broad coalition that seeks increasing influence over his presidency
At the end of Cristina Kirchner’s tenure as president, Mauricio Macri came to power in a coalition with Elisa “Lilita” Carrió and the longstanding Radical Civic Union (UCR) party. The alliance was strong. On the one hand, the current president was then the strongest opposition leader, who, although he did not have a large electoral base of his own, had tremendous potential; thus a match made in heaven with a traditional party that offered geographic strongholds of great importance for winning a national election.
Macri’s Cambiemos party triumphed over Kirchnerism, and the non-Peronist had a new opportunity to start and end a constitutional mandate, something that has not happened since 1928 in Argentina.
The vicissitudes of politics brought Macri to the end of his term with some surprises: not only he would he complete his first term, but he had great potential to achieve reelection. Kirchnerism went from being the hegemonic national political force, to a minority party; which Macri needed enormously to divide the opposition. Now his own electoral alliance is the cause of greatest concern with a view to his reelection.
Macri is more concerned with Carrió than Cristina
Looking beyond her shortcomings, Lilita could fulfill a campaign promise to her own backers, which was fundamental at the time of turning Mauricio Macri into president of Argentina: she said that she would support him, but also criticize, audit, and correct. These are typical political words that are usually used come election time between exadversaries, and Carrió would be true to her word. But this, which shaped his electoral path, had the capacity to become a concern for Macri.
The same ally that defended the Macri presidency, also denounced its supposed ‘fixer’ in the justice system (Daniel Angelici, president of Boca Juniors), and stated on several occasions that the Energy Minister, Juan José Aranguren, should resign because of the way he carried out the policies of reforming Kirchner’s vast energy subsidies.
In an unusual development, Carrió presented a Draft Resolution, which will surely enjoy quiet support from the opposition, so that the Chief of Staff, Marcos Peña, will have to give explanations on energy tariffs:
“The project involves collecting information about a manual of rules and procedures, if the regulatory bodies are in control, and in what way, that companies apply the tariff schedule.”
The text also requests that “the authorities of the electric and natural gas companies, as well as those of the electric cooperatives of the provinces, appear before the Commission for the Defense of the Consumer, the User, and Competition of the Chamber of Deputies, to provide explanations on the subject.”
In the UCR they want more
One of the most frequent debates with regard to radicalism is whether the alliance that won in 2015 is a coalition government or a parliamentary electoral coalition. The truth is that UCR perceives that they do not have too much clout with regard to the decisions in the executive branch, so they are looking for clues for next year’s elections, where in addition to seats in the parliament and provincial and municipal executives, radicalism has the intention to select Macri’s vice presidential running mate.
Peronism continues to be a ship adrift
With respect to the opposition, it seems that Macri has fewer threats there, compared to the challenges presented in his own coalition. The internal rupture within Kirchnerism has still not been resolved and the Justicialist Party was subject to external pressures, according to those close to the former president, in a manner than turned out to be most favorable for Macri and Cambiemos, who are reveling in the divided opposition.
When it comes time for Peronism to field its candidate to beat Macri, the truth is that not only does such a figure not exist, but that they are so concerned with internal conflicts between Kirchner and non-Kirchner forces, that 2019 seems to be the year in which not only a non-Peronist completed his term, but was guaranteed reelection. But of course, for that to happen, Macri must expertly handle the greatest challenge he faces: his own coalition government.