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April 18, 2014
Monday, December 2, 2013

Opposition leaders bid farewell to Congress

Outgoing Radical Party (UCR) caucus leader Ricardo Gil Lavedra speaks on the Congress floor.

Gil Lavedra, Prat Gay, Amadeo, Yoma, Puerta, Cicogna spend final days in Lower House

The Radical Party (UCR) and the Civic Coalition will both be losing their caucus leaders when Ricardo Gil Lavedra and former Central Bank head Alfonso Prat Gay bid farewell to the 257-member Lower House of Congress starting December 10, following the October 27 midterm elections that saw only 36 lawmakers re-elected in a race for 137 seats.

On Wednesday, the lawmakers elected in the October 27 vote will be sworn in, marking the beginning of the end of the road for several prominent lawmakers, including dissident Peronists Ramón Puerta, Eduardo Amadeo and Jorge Yoma, as well as nine of the 11 lawmakers who are part of the pro-farmers sector bloc.

Meanwhile, the ruling Victory Front (FpV) — which keeps a tight majority in Congress having taken 33.15 percent of the vote in the midterms and gaining 5 seats with its allies — will lose Buenos Aires province lawmaker Luis Cicogna, Catamarca province’s Rubén Yazbek, as well as Oscar Currilen and Nancy González from Chubut and Carmen Nebreda from Córdoba.

The FpV bloc will also say goodbye to lawmakers from Jujuy, Salta, Tucumán, Corrientes, Santa Fe, Entre Ríos, Mendoza and Río Negro.

Insaurralde, Massa will

take seats

A key replacement for the outgoing lawmakers is current Mayor Martín Insaurralde, who took 32 percent of the vote in Buenos Aires province behind Sergio Massa and his Renewal Front. The Lomas de Zamora mayor will carry with him 12 newly elected FpV lawmakers to the Lower House.

Nine lawmakers currently aligned to the FpV are set to depart the Lower House, as are the former allies of the FpV, Blanca Blanco de Peralta, the wife of the governor of Santa Cruz province, and Jorge Yoma, a dissident FpV lawmaker who has since formed his own single-member bloc.

The most prominent former Kirchnerite ally to end his term in the Lower House — although he never represented the ruling party in Congress — is Alfonso Prat Gay, an economist and former Central Bank head.

He was appointed to that role at the age of 37 by former president the late Néstor Kirchner, but did not renew his post after disagreements over paying debt with reserves. After joining a coalition led by lawmaker Elisa Carrió, he was denied the chance to run again on her ticket after losing in the August primaries of the UNEN coalition.

On the rise

Several current lawmakers will leave the Lower House to take up seats in the Senate, including Gabriela Michetti, former deputy mayor of the City under current mayor and leader of the PRO party Mauricio Macri.

Michetti led the winning PRO ticket for the City in the October midterms with incoming lawmaker Sergio Bergman, who will take up his seat with five newly elected PRO colleagues from the City, as well as key figures like comedian Miguel Del Sel for Santa Fe province.

Two of the former deputy mayor’s City partners for PRO, Paula Bertol and Julián Obiglio, will also leave the Lower House — but only Michetti will move to the Senate, alongside FpV lawmakers María Pilatti Vergara from Chaco and Rosana Bertone from Tierra del Fuego.

The Radical (UCR) Party, meanwhile, is due to lose Buenos Aires province’s Mario Barbieri, Juan Pedro Tunessi and María Luisa Storani, Córdoba province’s Gladys Espíndola and Hipólito Faustinelli, Corrientes’ Lucio Aspiazu, as well as Atilio Benedetti and Jorge Chemes from Entre Ríos and Ulises Forte from La Pampa.

But the most prominent figure in the Radical bloc to depart the Lower House is Ricardo Gil Lavedra, once Interior Minister for former President Raúl Alfonsín, and Justice and Human Rights Minister under the 1999-2001 Fernando de la Rúa administration.

Other Radicals who will be saying goodbye include Jorge Albarracín and Mariana Juri from Mendoza, Linda Yague from Neuquén, Hugo Castañón from Río Negro, Elsa Alvarez from Santa Cruz, Jorge Álvarez from Santa Fe, Juan Casañas from Tucumán and Pablo Orsolini from Chaco.

Lawmaker Julián Domínguez from the ruling FpV will continue as head of the chamber until 2014, when his term expires.

Herald staff with DyN

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