March 12, 2014
Scioli differs with Kirchnerites over re-election
Buenos Aires province Governor Daniel Scioli yesterday contradicted Tigre Mayor Sergio Massa, who is running for Congress outside the ruling Victory Front with an agenda that includes criticism of a potential third term of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
“Cristina has been very clear about not amending the Constitution,” Scioli said. “I know there’s anxiety among those who want quick definitions, but let’s not discuss abstract matters, things that are not part of the agenda,” Scioli said in reference to the president’s unconfirmed re-election plans publicly opposed by Massa.
But staunch Kirchnerites begged to differ with the governor. “We need to amend the Constitution,” said Entre Ríos Governor Sergio Urribarri. “But the president will decide when the right time comes, when she thinks that it’s necessary.” Urribarri spoke his mind hours before he received the head of state in his province for a rally in Paraná city.
Last night, Fernández de Kirchner headed a rally at Paraná to mark the city’s 200th anniversary, where she criticized Massa without naming him.
“When you are a lawmaker, you need to support a certain political project. As a lawmaker you cannot just be part of a grab-bag in order to win an election,” the president said addressing the crowd. “Elections last one day, but you need to govern 365 days a year,” she said.
At around the same time, Scioli met with the president’s Cabinet Chief Juan Manuel Abal Medina at Government House. Also present was Lomas de Zamora Mayor Martín Insaurralde, who on Saturday was anointed by Fernández de Kirchner to head the ruling Victory Front coalition’s slate of Lower House candidates in Buenos Aires province.
The meeting’s topics of discussions were not disclosed, but it was pressumed campaign issues were on the table.
Meanwhile, Estela Barnes de Carlotto, the president of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, also hinted at a possible third term for Fernández de Kirchner in 2015.
Re-reelection is “nothing to write home about,” said Carlotto, who asked for a new “constitutional amendment.”
The previous reform took place in 1994, as part of an accord between Peronist and Radical party bigwigs, including former president Raúl Alfonsín.
“This political process, the one that comes after this ‘decade won,’ needs to have the same structure and philosophy as the Néstor (Kirchner) and Cristina (Fernández de Kirchner) administrations,” said Carlotto.
Scioli, who is still a Kirchnerite ally and has not sided with Massa, undermined the importance of the October elections.
“It’s a legislative election. We need to calm the situation down, to put everything in context. I understand there’s anxiety, but there is a long way to go for the presidential elections,” he said.
The governor also questioned the very existence of midterm votes.
“I don’t know if at some point in the future we might have to think again (about the midterm vote). All terms should last four years, so as not to be in a campaign mode every year and a half,” Scioli said.
He then tried to kick forward the discussion about CFK’s succession and directed more subtle criticism at Massa, who talked as if the president’s re-reelection plans had already been presented.
“Some paths may seem brighter, shorter than the ones I’m taking, but I’d rather have a clear conscience and not put myself in a place far from what people expect from me,” the governor said.
However, his conclusive stance on CFK’s re-reelection at a time when some of her supporters are still encouraging her to run for a third presidential term may also be a way of taking distance from stalwart Kirchnerites.
...Not-so-welcomed back, either
On Monday, following the formal presentation of the candidate lists, Scioli acknowledged his difficult position in Argentina’s political world. Observers say he has been caught between the ultra-Kirchnerites and Massa’s Renewal Front.
“I am neither a slave nor an opponent, I am a collaborator,” he said.
But ultra-Kirchnerites insist on talking up the differences.
“When you have a million friends and you are OK with everyone, it ends up being very ambiguous and not making any difference,” said Victory Front lawmaker Diana Conti. “Citizens need (politicians) to have a clear stand on issues.”
Herald staff with DyN