LatinNews Daily - 08 June 2023

ARGENTINA: Opposition shaken by electoral strategy discord

On 6 June leaders of Juntos por el Cambio (JxC), Argentina’s main centre-right opposition coalition, made conflicting statements over electoral strategy, raising concerns over a potential internal rift. 


There is less than a week to go before the 14 June deadline to register coalitions and candidate lists for the August primaries. A dispute has broken out within JxC over whether or not to expand the coalition.

  • Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, the moderate-leaning mayor of Buenos Aires who is one of the contenders for the presidential nomination, wants to widen the coalition to include Juan Schiaretti, the dissident Peronist (Partido Justicialista – PJ) governor of the north-central province of Córdoba. In contrast, former hardline security minister Patricia Bullrich (2015-2019), another presidential hopeful who is supported by former president Mauricio Macri (2015-2019), opposes admitting more leaders into the coalition at this stage.     
  • Schiaretti has already declared his own presidential ambitions. However, if he joins JxC he could take part in the opposition coalition’s primaries. His inclusion could send a powerful message in a country which for decades has been deeply split between Peronist and anti-Peronist forces. Rodríguez Larreta wants to appeal across that political divide to centrist voters. But Bullrich and Macri believe that bringing in Schiaretti and other last minute political ‘concoctions’ is risky and could dilute the coalition’s message. Bullrich wants the coalition to appeal to the right, responding to the rising popularity of Javier Milei, the far-right candidate who casts himself as an anti-establishment outsider.  
  • The Bullrich-Macri axis within the opposition coalition argues against doing deals with their traditional Peronist enemies, but critics point out that Macri himself did something similar in the 2019 election, when he chose Miguel Ángel Pichetto, a traditional Peronist politician, as his vice-presidential running mate. 

Looking Ahead: Opinion polls continue to suggest a three-way race in this year’s presidential elections between the ruling left-of-centre Frente de Todos (FdT) coalition, the opposition right-of-centre JxC, and the far-right La Libertad Avanza led by Milei. The possibility of a formal split within JxC cannot be ruled out but given the high electoral stakes it is more likely that a compromise deal will be reached before the registration deadline.

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