Mauricio Macri returns these days from Villa La Angostura and knows that the time has come to make several important decisions. He must decide if it is convenient for the PRO and himself to advance in greater integration with the Government and if this step has to materialize only in the national Congress, perhaps creating an interbloc, or if he seeks that the libertarian give him some positions with decision-making power in the Cabinet.
The last fifteen days plunged Argentina into an unthinkable crisis. When everyone, both on the street and in the offices, was wondering how long the people are willing to endure the current pace of economic adjustment, the problem broke out on the other hand: the failure of the Omnibus Law in the Chamber of Deputies led to Milei entered a state of fury that made him confront governors and deputies whom he accuses of being traitors. And, thus, he blew up all the political bridges.
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The libertarian is a dogmatist, a leader with very strong principles, who pushes the clash almost to the ultimate consequences. However, he has just given two signs that he feels vertigo in the void. The first: he warned that it was not in his best interest to maintain his confrontation with Pope Francis and, therefore, he has just sealed his reconciliation during his current visit to the Holy See. The second: on Saturday, in statements he made on Radio Miter to Marcelo Bonelli, he spoke of the fluid dialogue that he maintains with Macri and made it possible to explore a rapprochement. Patricia Bullrich also spoke in this same direction.
The particular observation that Pope Francis made to Javier Milei after his affectionate greeting (Photo: AFP).
Is Milei starting to recalculate? It is difficult to imagine that he is going to renounce his rhetoric of confrontation and rift, but he seems to have perceived that this mechanism has a limit, governability, and a victim, himself. There were presidents, such as Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández, who used the crack as a campaign strategy and also maintained it during their administration, but they had two advantages that Milei suffers from: more money in the public coffers and a majority in the Chambers of Congress.
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Milei, on the other hand, is extremely weak. Its bloc of deputies barely has 38 members, most of them inexperienced, and 7 senators. These data are well known. What is not said is other data, which was highlighted this week. On the one hand, if one day the national Congress decided to pass a law and Milei vetoed it – as he threatened to veto the sharing of the Country tax that several governors wanted to promote – the President would not have a critical mass in Congress to prevent the deputies and senators insist on the law and it ends up being sanctioned.
Milei did not do that calculation, but there are several leaders who did do the fine numbers: they are very upset with the financial asphyxiation and the grievances to which the President subjects them and, for this reason, some of them mentioned the possibility of a tax rebellion. And, on the other hand, the governor of La Rioja, Ricardo Quintela, raised the possibility of several provincial leaders promoting an impeachment trial. It is clear that this is just a threat. But both situations make it clear that Milei has two exposed flanks and, also, that Peronism, for now, lets the libertarian do the dirty work of adjustment, but that he will remain buckled until he can successfully counterattack.
Ricardo Quintela said that he will seek to ensure that La Rioja has its own currency (Photo: X/@QuintelaRicardo).
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Perhaps, some constitutionalist friend should point out to him that it is convenient that the regular session period opens on March 1 and that the idea of turning one's back on Congress and snubbing the leaders again leads to nothing. Article 63 of the national Constitution says that both chambers, from that day on, “will meet by themselves.” That is to say, its operation does not depend on the President, who does have, according to article 99, paragraph 8, the power to make before that Legislative Assembly the report that “gives an account of the state of the nation.” Never in Argentine history has a President refused to make that report. Falling into that situation would be a new affront to legislators.
Now, the question that Macri and, also, several deputies and governors of the Pro and the UCR are asking at this time is whether the rapprochement with the government has to move towards a coalition in the Executive Branch or limit itself to deepening cooperation in Congress, perhaps merging legislators into a single block or creating an interblock led by Cristian Ritondo.
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Bullrich, who has many misgivings about Macri, is a supporter of the fusion theory: the members of the PRO have to approach Milei without hesitation and without asking for anything in return. For her, Milei is the undisputed leader, a kind of king of kings, and the others must be her subjects. But many PRO governors and deputies believe in other strategies.
For now, those who talk to Macri say that he would be convinced that the PRO, remaining separate, does not have much future and that Milei must be supported because he is the only one who has the possibility of facing the reforms that he himself would have wanted to make. . But that's where all the uncertainties arise.
Javier Milei, Mauricio Macri and Patricia Bullrich on the 21st floor of the Hotel Libertador (Photo: LLA press).
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Those who speak with the former president maintain that, to advance a rapprochement with Milei, certain conditions would have to be met:
1) The first is for Milei to abandon his confrontational rhetoric, so that joint political construction has the viability of growing even more. Milei should show that he wants to be broad, because if he is only satisfied with adding the PRO and some radicals, his strength would not be greater than that of Macri in 2016. It is not enough.
2) The second is that Milei recognizes that Macri can appoint several officials with true political decision-making power. According to those who are in favor of this strategy, participating in the Milei government only makes sense if the PROs have the power to concretely influence the management guidelines. Otherwise, the risks are very great, because if Milei were to fail, due to errors in the implementation of its policies, that would drag the PRO into decline. A bad result from Milei's management could drag down the Pro's identity and stop being an electoral alternative.
All of that is what will be talked about in future meetings.
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The Government has a strong political identity and the president seems determined to protect it. In statements to Clarín, the libertarian leader stated bluntly during his tour of Italy: “There is not going to be a co-government here, I am the one in charge.” When that happens, it is common for the parties and alliances that make up the political system to begin to be redefined. This is what happened when, under Carlos Menem, in the nineties, the Alliance began to be built, a slow process that took many years. And, in the 2000s, when Together for Change was formed against Cristina Kirchner.
Milei has a strong imprint. Perhaps we are witnessing the transformation of the groups we know now. But if Milei wants to go for everything and does not give up to build a wide and solid space, her final will leave, on the other side of the crack, a single adversary, solid and irreducible: a new version of Kirchnerist Peronism.