December 13, 2013
Macri hints at shift toward Peronism
Mayor quotes Perón on campaign trial, a sign of support he must gain for 2015
On the eve of the official deadline to end campaigning before Sunday’s midterm vote, Buenos Aires City Mayor Mauricio Macri seemed to be making a subtle appeal to Peronists by directly citing former president Juan Domingo Perón.
It seemed to be a tacit recognition of how he will have to openly appeal to Peronists if he hopes to win the presidency in 2015.
“Argentina’s North Star is productivity”, said Macri, recalling Perón’s legendary words about national unions being the Argentine guide to a more egalitarian society.
In the process, Macri ratified his will to run for president in 2015, emphasizing the need to promote policies that encourage production and employment, which are destroyed by high inflation.
Sentimental Peronists may have been touched by the PRO leaders’ remark, perceiving it as substantial. After all, Macri portrayed himself as a Peronist during his first steps into the political arena.
“From the beginning, PRO was born with Peronists within its ranks,” he once said. And he was not wrong.
Some members of Macri’s inner circle have peronist DNA running through their veins, including Legislature deputy Speaker Cristian Ritondo, one of the PRO’s most experienced political lobbyists, and second slot senatorial candidate Diego Santilli.
UNEN head congressional candidate Elisa Carrió focused part of her front’s campaign on criticizing Santilli for his Peronist roots, stating the capital does not need another Peronist in the Senate, as they are already a national majority.
“Kirchnerism’s cycle is ending, and we are moving toward a new era, (but there will be) a transition period full of doubt,” pointed out Macri.
Analysts agree Macri has to walk a fine line.
“A united Peronism in 2015 is not convenient for Macri’s ambitions, but a lined up Peronism behind his leadership is no use to him either, because the PRO has many anti-Peronist voters, even ‘gorilas,’ if I may say so,” explained sociologist Ricardo Rouvier to the Herald.
“The best chance for Macri depends on a divided Peronism so that he can take the lead in one section,” Rouvier said, suggesting he needed just enough Peronist support to stay in the presidential race against other possible Peronist candidates such as Tigre Mayor Sergio Massa and Buenos Aires Province Governor Daniel Scioli.
Getting ready for Sunday
The final hours of campaigning before Sunday’s elections had every candidate on the move to harvest as much support as possible. After all, their results will be a crucial test for leaders who dream of running for president in two years.
Macri is no exception. His name may not appear on the PRO’s ballot papers but he has undoubtedly spearheaded the party’s campaign, surrounding himself with his party’s nominees for Lower House, Senate and City Legislature at every rally.
PRO is not only competing in the City but also in several provinces, allied with other political forces. In some cases, such as Entre Ríos, dissident Peronists have negotiated slots on lists in exchange for backing Macri candidates like rural activist Alfredo De Ángeli for Senate.
But does Macri sound credible as a Peronist caudillo? Classic Peronist drumming is not a part of PRO’s rallies.
Nevertheless, former president Carlos Menem’s nephew and former Justicialist Party (PJ) congressman Adrián Menem has backed him.
“Today, Macri is the leader who stands up for Juan Domingo Perón and Eva Perón’s principles. Mauricio is acting as a Peronist. He has a great ability for government, no matter how hard he is criticized by those who want to destroy him and turn the City into ruins.”
Then again, his voice may not be the most authorized to speak on behalf Peronists considering he, Adrián Menem, was part of Macri’s La Rioja front when he said that back in 2012.