December 8, 2013
‘Massa’s front put an end to re-reelection
After years of being Elisa Ca-rrió’s closest aide, Adrián Pérez changed sides and joined Tigre Mayor Sergio Massa’s Renewal Front (RF) days before the registration of ballots for the PASO primaries held in August.
Pérez, who is running on the seventh slot to gain a seat in the Lower House of Congress for Buenos Aires province and is one of Massa’s advisers on corruption issues, talked to the Herald about his former leader and his relationship with some controversial figures within the RF.
Do you think you will be able to achieve the same result as in the PASO primaries?
We’re even trying to get a better one. We know this is a polarized election between the Victory Front (FpV) and the RF. Our intention is to go throughout the province and build up confidence with those sectors that didn’t vote for us in August.
Do you find similarities in how both campaigns concluded with a major role played by members of the security forces: with the scandal of FpV candidate Juan Cabandié in a traffic stop and the robbery suffered by Massa?
No. What Cabandié was involved in was a case of abuse of power, which was harshly criticized by political leaders and by society as a whole. The abuse of power must be rejected. Whereas, the case of the robbery is currently being handled in court.
Can Cabandié’s scandal — which also stained your main rival, the FpV candidate for Buenos Aires province Martín Insaurralde — benefit you?
I don’t know. We don’t have opinion polls on that issue. We are concentrated on our campaign, we want to cover the province’s inland, which is a sector we have not been able to address during the short campaign for the PASO primaries.
You said you would sponsor the abrogation of the so-called judicial reform package promoted by the Kirchnerite administration, but do you agree with the fact justice should go through a reform process?
Yes, it has to work faster. We also want a descentralized judiciary and that’s why we’re promoting the deployment of courts in every district to improve access to justice. We want to create a judicial police and also to have a more independent judiciary. We want to reform the Magistrates Council so that the removal of judges is not in the hands of the ruling party.
In fact, the government also wanted to reform the Council...
What we want is the opposite because the so-called judicial reform package wanted to give more power to the ruling party in the selection of judges and also made proceedings slower by creating Cassation Courts and with the law that modified injunction request was, in fact, putting citizens in a more vulnerable position.
Isn’t it unnecessary to repeal the package when in fact the Supreme Court said the Magistrates Council reform was unconstitutional ?
The ruling has effects on that specific case. If we repeal the package, it will have a general effect and that’s what we want.
You were criticized because you went to a notary’s office to sign a contract against re-reelection. Was it OK to take a political commitment to that field?
Yes, we had to show our strong rejection to a constitutional reform. It was a good idea. After the RF’s victory in the primaries in Buenos Aires province, nobody else kept on promoting a constitutional reform and the political climate changed also. We started discussing an agenda more connected to social needs, similar to the one we had proposed during the campaign, which was related to inflation, crime control, reducing income taxes. But we achieved that after the idea of reforming the Constitution was set aside.
How is your relationship with Ca-rrió? She said that when she sees you with the Buenos Aires mayors that are part of the front she wants to rescue you...
Yes. I haven’t talked with her any more. I worked for the Civic Coalition for many years and I will defend the same values and ideas I used to praise while I was there: the struggle against corruption, transparency, institutional strengthening. That is what I’m working on at the RF, which is a plural, competitive front, which has been capable of winning the primaries in the province.
Do you agree with the “Never Again” anti-corruption campaign that Congresswoman Margarita Stolbizer is sponsoring?
In some aspects, yes. I think that there will not be a clear majority in the next Congress and we’ll have to build consensus, topic by topic. There are some pending issues such as promoting a law for public access to information and we’ll also have to develop an idea of a transparent state with all their actions publicly disseminated in order to promote citizens’ control. I think we should have heftier penalties for those involved in corruption cases and also sponsor safeguards and legislation for whistleblowers and to create a commission to get the stolen resources back to the state.
You’ve defined the RF as a plural front; however there are certain leaders such as Juan José Álvarez or Miguel Toma, who you wouldn’t have sat down at a table with before. Do you feel comfortable with them?
Well, it is a plural front and the most successful mayors from Buenos Aires province are the essential structure of it, which also shows why they have achieved so much support from the citizenry. Not every political force is homogeneously structured. The important thing is who the leaders are and they are mayors who have carried out a great administration.
Was it true that you weren’t part of the Civic and Social Progressive Front due to the slot you were assigned?
No. The truth is that the RF was assembled at the very last minute. It was a personal decision to be part of the RF and I thought it was good to accompany Massa and to avoid this friend-enemy logic, which is the worst of Kirchnerism’s legacy. We’re part of a same generation and we should work together. To recover from this black-and-white logic, it was necessary a signal from the political world and that’s what the RF has done.