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Non-Peronists play up unity of alliance

From left to right: Fernando Solanas (Proyecto Sur), Hermes Binner (Socialist Party), Ernesto Sanz (Radical Party) Elisa Carrió (Cívic Coalition), Julio Cobos(Radical Party), Humberto Tumini (Libres del Sur), Luis Juez (Córdoba Civic Front) and Victoria Donda (Libres del Sur).
By Tomás Brockenshire
Herald Staff
UNEN-Broad Front alliance launched in celebratory atmosphere, differences minimized

The first major non-Peronist coalition seeking to move into Government House in 2015 was formally launched yesterday at a packed theatre in Corrientes Avenue.

The UNEN Broad Front was formally “born,” as its leaders characterized the event, after representatives of the eight constituent parties signed its political platform amid a lead-up punctuated by divisions among political leaders who have not always seen eye-to-eye on key issues.

In recent days, divisions over the role that Buenos Aires City Mayor Mauricio Macri’s PRO party could play in a future electoral pact with the front and internal rumblings in Córdoba appeared to provide a preview of the trouble that could lie ahead for the nascent alliance.

Former Vice-President Julio Cobos told the Herald after the event that the unity of the front will be reflected in a joint Congressional agenda that will be built with consensus and dialogue which has yet to “fine-tune” legislative issues. He also added that once the primaries take place, “the losers will have to stay involved and support the continued construction of the front.”

Actor Luis Brandoni was the only official speaker at yesterday’s event, reading out the text of the political platform to an audience of party officials, activists and assembled media in a short ceremony that did not feature speeches from any of the politicians in the coalition.

When he was asked about how the front intends to resolve internal differences, Cobos, the Radical Party (UCR) Lower House lawmaker added that despite its relative size, the UCR will not have an overriding say in decision-making matters.

The UNEN-Broad Front also distributed the broad outlines of its political platform, which replicated tensions between centre-left and centre-right ideas.

Among the “shared values” of its leaders, the non-Peronist front mentioned “the pursuit of freedom and equality” and a “strong” yet “efficient” State — an effort to combine the views of, say, Fernando “Pino” Solanas and Ernesto Sanz.

“We believe in dialogue and long-term agreements (and) we’re decided to confront a way of exercising power by confusing State with government,” UNEN-Broad Front leaders proclaimed.

In the light of the recent court appearances of former Transport secretary Ricardo Jaime, members of the newly-created alliance also vowed to fight “corruption and impunity” and the “intertwined relationship between public and private interests.”

Criticism of the Kirchnerite administration continued with harsh words, as leaders said the “authoritarian model” was simply “unacceptable,” as the current rulers “are disrespectful of the law and disrespectful of federalism.”

“This concentration of power ... has led to corruption, ... the destruction of the environment, crony capitalism ... and economic underdevelopment.”

Despite this apocalyptic picture, Solanas yesterday said UNEN-Broad Front means “a smooth transition for Argentina,” while Alfonsín said two things would be bad for the country — one of them being Kirchnerism winning in 2015, and the other the country “returning to the past.”

Some of the main measures to be implemented should the front win the 2015 presidential elections are “support for social infrastructure investment” and “macroeconomic stability defending the value of the currency.”

Leaders of the electoral alliance also vowed to pass a tax reform measure that will include “a tax on (financial) speculation” and to guarantee judicial independence, one of the main criticisms of the non-Peronist front towards the Fernández de Kirchner administration.

Finally, the platform aimed to “extend its reach” but also be respectful of political realities. This was reflected in statements by Cobos concerning Buenos Aires province, where he noted that such an approach based on “the participation of a wide range of parties” was required to come together to construct a strong presence in Argentina’s most populous province.

Partisan atmosphere

The announcement also featured a reading of messages from Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), the Uruguayan Broad Front and the Paraguayan Party for a Country of Solidarity (País Solidario) which expressed their support for the new Front, in an attempt to emphasize links to social democratic experiences in the region.

Peppering the event was the chanting by supporters of each party as their leaders rose to the stage, with the Proyecto Sur and Libres del Sur in particularly fine voice. As the theatre slowly emptied out, sympathizers took turns proclaiming their respective leaders for president.

@tbrockenshire

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