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Scioli-Massa: first political squabble of 2014

Buenos Aires Governor Daniel Scioli (right) has started the year with thinly veiled barbs against Sergio Massa.

Fight illustrates one of the battles that will mark the year as key Peronists call for primaries

The first political squabbling of the year continued yesterday, as allies of Buenos Aires Governor Daniel Scioli kept on harshly criticizing Renewal Front leader Sergio Massa in an illustration of the political fight that will mark the year as Peronist leaders seek to gain the leadership of the party ahead of the 2015 elections.

“Massa should provide solutions and not just comment on problems,” FpV provincial lawmaker Guido Lorenzino told state-run news agency Télam.

The latest back-and-forth came as Victory Front (FpV) lawmaker José María Díaz Bancalari yesterday called for a primary election in which Peronist forces would decide the presidential candidate for 2015 and mentioned several Justicialist Party (PJ) leaders that could contend for that spot.

“We need to have a big primary election and all sectors should take part in it, as took place during the 1988 primaries between (former Buenos Aires province governor Antonio) Cafiero and (former president Carlos) Menem,” Díaz Bancalari said.

Among potential contenders of Peronism to rule the country after 2015, the veteran Kirchnerite lawmaker mentioned Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich, Buenos Aires province Governor Daniel Scioli, Salta provincial leader Juan Manuel Urtubey and San Juan Governor José Luis Gioja, who is recovering from injuries suffered after a helicopter crash last October.

CFK’s role

Díaz Bancalari also commented on Fernández de Kirchner’s decision not to run as candidate next year after finishing her second term in office.

“I haven’t spoken to her, but I think she has made an extraordinary effort, has suffered terrible things like losing her husband (former president Néstor Kirchner) and two health-related episodes,” the Peronist leader said.

Two weeks ago, lawmaker Carlos Kunkel said the head of state would run as candidate in 2015 — statements that were later ruled out by the president herself.

In that regard, Díaz Bancalari complained because “we’ve just held legislative elections and some (leaders) are already talking about 2015,” but he decided to blame it on Radical Party (UCR) figures.

Shoot the Tigre leader

Meanwhile, Lorenzino — one of Scioli’s closest allies — took on Renewal Front leader Sergio Massa for saying prospects were not good for the country in 2014.

“An opposition leader should not take the place of a journalist and just make comments — he should provide solutions to current problems,” Lorenzino said.

“Reality indicates that this kind of leaders (who only make comments) are not elected to rule (the country),” the FpV representative said.

Carlos Gianella, another ally of the governor, also blasted Massa for just being a theoretician.

“The former Tigre mayor is constantly analyzing reality like he is a Russian parachutist,” the Buenos Aires province Deputy Secretary of Community Relationships said.

“Massa and (former Kirchnerite leader) Alberto Fernández have led the Cabinet chief department for seven years under the Néstor (Kirchner) and Cristina (Fernández de) Kirchner administrations,” he added to illustrate his point.

Yesterday afternoon, Scioli himself took some distance from the Tigre leader.

“I’m doing the same I’ve always done — I put my energy into improving the province. I won’t be distracted by other leaders that are taking the path of confrontation,” he told news channel C5N.

Discussions inside Peronism have deepened since the national government lost the midterms in several key districts such as Buenos Aires City, Buenos Aires province, Córdoba, Santa Fe and Mendoza.

As Fernández de Kirchner is technically unable to run for a third term, different Justicialist leaders have been preparing to rule the country as from 2015. Some of them, such as Scioli, have publicly expressed their desire to run in less than two years. Others, such as Capitanich, Entre Ríos Governor Sergio Urribarri and Interior and Transport Minister Florencio Randazzo, have been more quiet about it.

In this context, the “normalization” of the national Peronist party structure appears as the next key battle where future leaderships will begin to be decided.

Even though the official terms as party leaders have ended, Peronist figures continue in their posts as they wait for new elections.

Last December, the Justicialist Party in BA province renewed its leadership after La Matanza Mayor Fernando Espinoza emerged as the consensus candidate.

Peronists aim to “normalize” the countrywide party structure as well — and Jujuy province Governor Eduardo Fellner is leading the preferences as he reportedly enjoys Pink House approval.

Herald staff with DyN, Télam

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