In this corner… Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner accuses in the balance 70 percent of negative image. In the other corner of the ring: the challenger, Mauricio Macri, with almost 60 percent negativity in his image, according to the Taquion consultancy. Both are already doing pre-competitive exercises for an increasingly likely clash of titans election: the final combat of the opposite poles of the “crack”.
Ricardo Kirschbaum, general secretary of the newspaper Clarín, described this gloomy scenario in a recent column as a “collision of planets.” And the stars and galaxies could accommodate themselves in 2023 to give Argentines the harsh astronomical collision of having to choose between the two political leaders with the worst image in the country.
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How could the constellations be accommodated so that this planetary clash occurs?
There is also another more complex question: what could each of these do? lost image gladiators to prevail over the other in the contest.
Until now, the commonplace among political analysts was that the vice president is perfectly aware that her image is too negative to aspire to a new presidential term. This explains her curious attempt to detach herself from the ballast of her failed election by Alberto Fernandez, whose management continues to collapse in public consideration. The monthly survey of the University of San Andrés in April placed the approval of the government below 20 percent. Downward trend.
Seeing that alignment of planets, the former president, the analysts maintained, I would only aspire to scratch a senatorship next year to preserve the magic protective ring of the charters in the face of their complicated legal situation.
She would have to choose the province of Buenos Aires and, if things get too thick economically for the gladiator, the province of Santa Cruz, her other address: both districts will have replacement of senators next year.
However, no one saw his most unexpected challenger coming, former President Mauricio Macri. When the head of the PRO, Patricia Bullrich, recently stated that she would present herself to the primary on behalf of the “halcones” to face the mayor of Buenos Aires Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, located in the nest of the “pigeons”, it seemed that Macri would not play. But the former president took a plane and went to the state of Florida and got a photo with the controversial former US president Donald Trump. The message was very clear: “I’m not getting off ringside and I’m the king of the falcons, not Patricia.”
Macri has many chances of becoming a candidate for Together for Change or whatever the coalition is called next year because he has among PRO voters the larger base of support. The latest poll by the Circuitos pollster, in the province of Buenos Aires, shows that the former president outperforms all of his internal rivals.
Why could there be such a feared clash with Cristina Fernández de Kirchner?
The vice president may not have much notion of what to do for the country to resolve its chronic inflation and lower poverty levels beyond pretending that it has nothing to do with Alberto Fernández’s management. But Cristina is a skillful player on the electoral board and she knows that if she wants to avoid the fate of former President Carlos Menem, have to play.
Carlos Menem she had beaten her ex-husband and presidential candidate Néstor Kirchner in the first round in 2003, but by just two meager points. The former president knew that, with his high negative image, a ballotage would turn into a plebiscite against him and that a defeat by more than 20 points would be the political end for him.
He finished his career mediocrely, renewing the banking for the minority of his province, La Rioja, to keep the privilegesbut watching bitterly losing elections in his own hometown, Anillaco.
The electorate always held him responsible for the failure of convertibility under the government of the radical Fernando De la Rúa. He died protected by the privileges, but without any political power in Peronism.
So that Cristina Fernández de Kirchner does not suffer the same fate as former President Menem, Macri offers her an unexpected opportunity to play as a candidate, even if it is only from a part of Peronism. Mauricio Macri, the challenger in search of a vindication of his ill-fated mandate, I would align the planets to the vice president to cheer for the final combat.
Macri, as a challenger, is on an equal footing and is subject to the same analysis that led Cristina, three years ago, to elect Alberto Fernández as president to hide behind your candidacy: “Without Cristina it is not possible, but with Cristina alone it is not enough”. Replace Cristina with Mauricio.
Macri versus Kirchner would be a coin in the air, a fight with an open ending
Could Macri tone down his high negative image to improve the chances of beating him? In fact, one of the astral movements that helped Macri decide that he can play is that, given the failure of the president’s management Alberto Fernandez and a level of inflation that is surpassing that left by the former president, the negative image has already been lowering him a little.
This encouraged him to start consulting with a new communication guru: the Argentine William Raffo, based in Brazil and who was part of the teams of the legendary consultant to Ignacio “Lula” Da Silva, Duda Mendonça.
Raffo also advised the former president Eduardo Duhalde and the Cordovan Peronist José Manuel De la Sota and he understands Argentina’s economic problems much better than the Ecuadorian Jaime Durán Barba.
Raffo has probably already warned Macri that the idea of launching his candidacy with a photo with Trump was not a very good idea. The former North American president ended his term on suspicion of encouraging the unusual attempt to take over Congress by a gang of fanatics who did not accept the Republican’s electoral defeat.
But Macri has various alternatives to revalue his candidacy, despite the failure of his administration. The slogan “I learned” has already begun to be installed in front of a group of businessmen who invited some of the opposition leaders to the Llao Llao hotel, whose host was the CEO of IRSA and owner of the luxurious hotel, Eduardo Elsztein.
Raffo will surely have told him that he is going to have to fill that slogan with more specific content: what he learned and what he would do differently, if he were to return to power. Macri could, for example, write the book once and for all Second time.
In Primer Tiempo, published last year by Planeta and written by its ghost writer, Hernán Iglesias Illa, he gives no clues as to what he would do in that eventual second half: Now he would have the opportunity to do so and clear up many doubts about his candidacy, such as whether he has an adequate diagnosis of the reality of the country and a plan that has a chance of working better.
For the vice president, the challenge is much more complex: to recover the lost shine, she needs the management of her dolphin, Alberto Fernández, to reach 2023 in better economic conditions. That would require that she and her son, Máximo, stop giving him a hard time and instead return to cooperating with the president. But that seems not to be Cristina Kirchner’s plan, and thus it is unlikely that she will be able to lower her extremely high negative image without improving the approval of what, ultimately, continues to be her own government.
Anyway, still losing, with Macri the difference would not be great and that would allow him to remain in force within Peronism and find a justification to harass that eventual Macri government.
It would be necessary to see how the electorate reacts to this ballot proposal: the last legislative election had a significant drop in electoral participation. If many desist from going to vote or vote blank in rejection of that difficult-to-digest offer, it will be difficult to make a good electoral horoscope with the polls.
One year to go until the elections
It is still not clear how the radical partners of Together for Change and Elisa Carrio. Several of them have already hinted that they would not accompany a candidacy of the former president. And Macri replied that the unity of the opposition coalition did not seem to him the most important thing.
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For Macri, the main obstacle to reaching the presidential ringside would not be Cristina Kirchner, nor her radical partners or Elisa Carrió, but rather her internal challenger, Rodriguez Larreta. The head of the Buenos Aires government has time to present Argentine society with a different ring to confront Macri and Patricia Bullrich: his strategy will not be to try to prove that pigeons are better than hawks (difficult), but to completely change the axis of the debate for “crack versus consensus”.
If he wins his proposal to achieve the structural reforms that the country needs with the consensus, as he repeats at every step, of “70 percent of the Argentine leadership,” he has a year to prevail. Surveys and focus groups are showing that Argentine society largely blames the crack by the eternal economic decline of the country.