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Mining provinces get Scioli 2015 nod

A file photo shows Buenos Aires province Governor Daniel Scioli alongside Mendoza provincial leader Francisco “Paco” Pérez.

Provincial leaders begin to huddle around BA province governor following promises for the sector

Mining provinces could expect to win big if Daniel Scioli takes the presidency in 2015, according to information leaked about team Scioli’s policy platform over the weekend — a veiled nod at expansion in the mining sector that comes as provincial leaders in San Juan and Catamarca begin huddling around the Buenos Aires province governor’s candidacy.

“The development of mining production” is reported to be one of the top economic priorities a Scioli government would spearhead, and would be used to counteract the eventual “reduction in export taxes on wheat,” sources from Scioli’s inner circle told the private news agency DyN.

“We have to double mining production in the north of the country, taking Chile as example, with the expansion of environmental controls that could be left in the hands of the opposition or relevant groups,” they said, noting that “mining would generate a development boom in the northeast of the country... that in one year would produce US$5-10 million” in export revenue for the sector.”

The information stems from news Scioli has created a so-called Argentine Development foundation (DAR) that groups together economists and experts from a range of fields, and which is allegedly being led by Scioli’s brother José “Pepe” Scioli, among other provincial leaders.

The move could be seen as an attempt to reach out to a range of sectors that remain disgruntled with the CFK administration for its economic policies, which culminated with the increased taxation on exports for the farming sector which in 2008 propelled the government into a prolonged stand-off with farmers.

Notwithstanding, while Scioli would also allegedly eliminate the restrictions on buying foreign currency that CFK administration has implemented over the past three years, sources said the tax on soy exports would stay, since they’re the “basis for sustaining socio-economic programmes.”

Governors’ support

The leaked information comes also as governors from provinces where mining projects have been slow to blossom have recently been seen putting their support behind Scioli, without however going as far as formally endorsing him.

The BA province leader, who has seen to have distanced himself from the CFK administration recently — is currently also on a provincial tour to meet with governors and local leaders, under the guise of “finding out the new concerns of people,” said Scioli, speaking yesterday from Corrientes province.

“He’s a well-positioned candidate, perhaps the best positioned,” said San Juan Governor José Luis Gioja last week. “I believe there has to solidarity among everyone (in the Justicalist Party) and an internal vote.”

Gioja — whose province runs along the resources rich Andes mountain range, which neighbouring Chile also mines — went as far as describing Scioli as a “good guy” but cautioned that “there are other candidates who are important.”

Scioli will tomorrow be attending Mining Day alongside Catamarca province Governor Lucía Corpacci, who has also hinted at her support for the Scioli 2015 campaign. (Corpacci also scored a recent electoral triumph in her northwestern mining province, which has bolstered confidence among members of the ruling Victory Front.)

Another provincial leader backing Scioli is Mendoza province Governor Francisco “Paco” Pérez who opened the legislative year after a colourful reception by Kirchnerite activists who carried orange banners reading “Scioli 2015.”

According to local media reports, banners were brought by Lieutenant-Governor Carlos Ciurca.

So far, three presidential candidates have made themselves known to the electorate, while others — particularly those closer to the president — have been seen testing the waters for the broader support they would need from provincial and local leaders.

Sergio Massa’s Renewal Front and Buenos Aires City Mayor Mauricio Macri’s PRO join Scioli is marking a significant step to the right for the 2015 presidential elections.

Massa, the former mayor of Tigre in Greater Buenos Aires, has been touring the country gathering support from dissident Kirchnerites, as well as mayor and provincial leaders, including Córdoba province Governor José Manuel de la Sota, while Macri is expected to face greater hurdles in gaining nationwide support from provincial and local leaders, given the limitations of his party to certain metropolitan hubs like Buenos Aires City.

Scioli is expected to travel to Europe in the coming weeks to meet with business and political leaders to pump up talk of investment in Argentina post 2015.

Herald staff with DyN

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