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‘Carrió could join PRO but no on our ballot’

Senator Gabriela Michetti seen with City Mayor Mauricio Macri during a campaign rally earlier this year.

Senator still undecided on prospect of replacing Macri

Firebrand national lawmaker for the Civic Coalition Elisa Carrió could easily become part of a shared political space with Buenos Aires City Mayor Mauricio Macri’s PRO but not necessarily on the centre-right party’s electoral ballot, PRO Senator for the City Gabriela Michetti said yesterday.

“I think that she (Carrió) could clearly be part of a space like the PRO. But then from an electoral point of view, seeing her as part of a ballot (with the PRO), is complicated,” Michetti told the Tiempo Argentino daily.

Carrió, a member of the Broad Front-UNEN bloc, has set herself apart from her colleagues this year by expressing her approval of the possibility of an alliance with the PRO, a position she first hinted at just hours after the launch of the bloc of non-Peronist parties in April. Her colleagues, many of whom find themselves on the centre-left of local politics, were quick to hit out at her, with GEN party leader Margatia Stolbilzer claiming “Macri is not even talking about us.”

Despite remaining fairly silent on any political alliances for the 2015 general elections, the PRO will likely need to strike some form of electoral pact to secure votes outside its comfort zone and stronghold in this capital.

In response to speculation her party was looking at the Radical (UCR) party for an alliance, Michetti said yesterday she would like to see “more leaders than what we currently have in the PRO and that it (the party) becomes broader.”

Undecided

Michetti, a former deputy-mayor in the City, was also ambiguous in her response to doubts about her political future. Macri’s party enjoys strong vote intention in this capital, which it has controlled since 2007, and Michetti is one of PRO’s most popular leaders, having secured 39 percent of the vote in last October’s midterms to become the senator with the highest portion of votes for the City in the national Congress. She has been labelled by many political observers as a natural successor to Mayor Macri.

“Horacio (Rodríguez Larreta), Cristián (Ritondo) and (Diego Santilli) ‘El Colo’ have also said they’ll be pre-candidates” for the mayorship, she said. “But I haven’t decided yet. It’s one of the alternatives I have in mind and its appealing, but I’ll choose what’s most valuable for our project, be it on a national level or by staying here in Congress.”

Michetti said the final decision should come from primaries and not from Macri himself.

Asked about the PRO’s strengths and weaknesses after seven years in power, she claimed the Macri administration had restored strength to institutions while defying expectations that “it was going to reduce the state and privatize I don’t know how many things.” On the contrary, she said the ruling PRO had been slow to realize the importance of dialogue with constituents.

As a presidential candidate for 2015, Macri is a favourite foe for government supporters, many of whom say he exclusively represents the country’s upper classes while failing to address key socio-economic issues like shortcomings in the City’s housing, health and education sectors.

For her part, Carrió is considered by many as a Catch 22 for her Broad Front-UNEN coalition, providing it a strong foothold in the important City electorate but at the same time drifting ever closer the right — and often at the cost of her working relationship with leaders from the other parties in the alliance. Indeed, her warming to the PRO was just one of many battles the lawmaker has had with her colleagues, some of whom have described the four-time presidential candidate as having a “destructive personality.”

Herald staff

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