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July 22, 2014
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UCR eyes presidential runoff pact with PRO

Julio Cobos (left) and Ernesto Sanz pictured during the March 1 opening session of Congress.

Deal would be part of a theoretical second round in 2015; UNEN leaders reject Alliance comparisons

Following statements this week from Radical Party (UCR) officials that seemed to open the door for an electoral deal with Buenos Aires City Mauricio Macri’s centre-right PRO party for the 2015 presidential elections, against the wishes of some of their UNEN Broad Front allies, key Radical figures yesterday nuanced their position by speaking of engaging with PRO during a theoretical presidential run-off.

Radical Party Chairman Ernesto Sanz, one of the UNEN Broad Front’s possible presidential candidates, said yesterday that he expects the Front to make it past the first round of the 2015 presidential elections and that “obviously” a deal with the PRO would be sought to win the run-off. Sanz added that “it’s not on the agenda today. We are focusing on building the Front. We’ll discuss the possibility of adding other groups later.”

UNEN Broad Front members such as Libres del Sur have resisted making a deal with PRO, suggesting that there is not a common political agenda and that the PRO party is too far to the right to make a coalition workable.

Senator Fernando “Pino” Solanas, speaking to La Nación yesterday, suggested that it “would be a gross betrayal” to voters to enter a coalition with PRO, even if doing so improved the UNEN Broad Front’s chances in a presidential runoff.

Radical lawmaker José Cano, representing Tucumán province, following a similar line to Sanz’s, said that the UNEN coalition “should not be exclusionary” and that alliances with parties that also adhere to the “principles that have to do with the role of the state, and the UNEN perspective on the things that must be changed so that in Argentina we have positive institutions, policies of state and legal security” should be sought. He added that “it makes sense to find agreements, to open up the UNEN space to other political parties.”

Cano also emphasized the importance of consolidating the UNEN Broad Front, which will be formally launched on Tuesday, and which help establish the programmatic principles that will guide the coalition on the way to the PASO primaries in 2015.

In response, PRO lawmaker Patricia Bullrich, said that “We have embarked upon a path of growth, and as Unión PRO grows, the voices in the UNEN Broad Front calling for an agreement grow louder,” before adding that any deal would depend on the will “of those who are promoting such a deal.”

Bullrich also minimized the immediacy of any deal, saying “we will see if they are mature enough to understand or not that need. Up to now it’s just talk, our priority isn’t there because it isn’t up to us.”

Not an Alliance re-run

The talk of coalitions and agreements was also tempered by Radicals seeking to put distance with the current UNEN Broad Front and the UCR-Frepaso coalition known as the Alliance that won the presidential election in 1999 only to see its president, Fernando de la Rúa resign during the financial crisis of 2001.

Former vice-president Julio Cobos, who had earlier this week said that “conditions are right” for an eventual electoral pact with the PRO, yesterday sought to differentiate the new grouping by saying that “they are different things, and different circumstances. Before there wasn’t a dissident Peronism, and the country is in a different situation. The government has to reformulate either its economic or social policy. Comparisons are odious.”

Senator Solanas echoed that sentiment as he portrayed the UNEN Broad Front in a different light, explaining that “it is a more comprehensive front... Experience makes a difference. The Alliance was not in vain. I think that that a good part of the participants are aware of the risks of a coalition government.”

The UNEN Broad Front will formally bring together representatives from the Radical Party, Socialist Party, Civic Coalition, Proyecto Sur, GEN, Libres del Sur, Frente Cívico (Córdoba), the Authentic Socialist Party and Suma+, and will include the presentation of a joint political agenda.

Herald with DyN, Télam

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