- How is it presented? Like the candidate of the PRO, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta or Patricia Bullrich?
- The PRO candidate encompasses all that. I represent Horacio, Patricia, Mauricio, María Eugenia (Vidal), Pinedo (Federico), those who came before and those who will come after. I will be the candidate of all of them.
Until a couple of weeks ago it was not so clear that you were the unity candidate. He was identified with Bullrich and Macri and not so much with Rodríguez Larreta.
- I always say the same thing. Horacio invited me to the City. If I have the possibility of being a candidate, it is because he added me to the cabinet. From the first day I expressed my desire to be, without guarantees, knowing that there were others who would also want to compete. After that concrete support from Horacio, Patricia, Mauricio and María Eugenia joined along the way. It is a film in which what stands out is the value of unity. I value that, because it is a unity that has not been achieved in many places.
- Does the image of Rodríguez Larreta with the four pre-candidates of Together for Change in the City, not take away support?
The dialogue is now with the people, it is no longer a question of leaders. It has nothing to do with the photos or the device. This is a sophisticated voter and I believe I have attributes that differentiate me: the experience of working as a team, of leading a government in a city where I was in charge of Health, Education and Public Space. Porteños choose management people. Mauricio had that profile and Horacio too, I hope they give us the chance to carry out this third stage of change in the city of Buenos Aires.
- You state that your candidacy is in accordance with the Buenos Aires Electoral Code. Beyond that, is there a reconversion of that Buenos Aires leader to this one who wants to govern the City?
- I am the same person. What I did discover is that I am passionate about managing cities. I have a background to do it. Vicente López and the City have constant and daily meeting points. The first Metrobus we did when Mauritius was head of government, in a joint effort of both jurisdictions. People go for Libertador and don't notice such a marked difference. I do believe that this year and a half of management in the City has given me a very valuable knowledge of the management axes. This is an exciting city, each neighborhood is unique, with different realities. I like that.
Are they going to muddy the field in the campaign with the discussion about his address?
- People know who I am. There is nothing hidden. It is clear that the legal requirements are met. What I notice is that many have more to talk about me than to tell about themselves. The vote is not won by talking about other leaders, it is won by telling the porteños what one wants to do.
- Martín Lousteau, rival in the PASO of Together for Change, was Minister of Economy of Cristina Kirchner. Can it play against him in the election?
- Everyone has their story. I'm going to tell mine. Everyone knows where we came from and who we are. As simple as that.
- Talk to Lousteau?
- I have a cordial treatment. I'm not a friend, I'm not a regular. I've always been more in the executive spheres. I haven't crossed paths with him that much.
- Does he have a debt in executive positions? Is it more linked to the legislative?
- I'm not going to talk about other candidates.
- But can't it be a plus that you come with previous management experience?
- It may be that my management capacity, my firmness, the strength of being able to govern in difficult times are valued. The country is going to go through hard times and the City will continue to be the place where many of the conflicts are settled. There is much to do and I think I have something particular: I come to make politics uncomfortable and that is a hallmark of the PRO. People are uncomfortable and politics comfortable.
Jorge Macri, pre-candidate for head of the Buenos Aires Government. Photo: Juano Tesone.
- That seems to be a leitmotiv of Javier Milei...
- No, it's a very PRO proposal. We came to disturb traditional politics. We are a new space, it is our flag.
- Twenty years after its creation, is the PRO still new?
- The new is defined by your ability to reinvent yourself. I hope to overcome the management of Mauricio and Horacio. Being new or old is not defined by the passage of time, but by your ability to transform yourself.
Was the Buenos Aires administration neglected in the last year since the presidential candidacy of Rodríguez Larreta?
- I do not adhere to that view, I see the whole team focused on management. I think the porteño values everything that was done, but always expects more. The citizen here is very demanding. In politics you do not live on successes as in music, where sometimes you hit a hit and with that you live all your life, repeating it. This city does not have lithium, it does not have renewable energies or Vaca Muerta, but it has a differential that is its human capital. I will emphasize the success and the work of the private sector in the City.
Can not complicate the national election so much pyrotechnics between Bullrich and Rodríguez Larreta?
- I think we will find a way to have a healthy and positive competition. We are all adults. The only ones who have the right to be angry are citizens, not politicians. There is no room to continue throwing naphtha on the fire. We have to be respectful of people's pain.
- Being a concurrent election, separate from the national one, does it take pressure off you that your candidacy is not stuck on the ballot with theirs?
- I think the single electronic ballot system is a good one, it is comfortable and transparent for the porteño. People are the ones who are going to choose.
Jorge Macri, pre-candidate for head of government of Buenos Aires. Photo: Juano Tesone.
- But in a traditional election system his ballot would have gone next to that of the current head of government. Wouldn't it have been an extra boost?
- Yes, or with both, with Horacio and Patricia, as the Buenos Aires candidate on both ballots. People take voting very seriously. Sometimes there are those who believe that you can manipulate the popular will with one system or another. I think people know how to vote, sometimes we represent them badly.
If you are head of government, do you think that the co-participation funds that the Nation took away from you will be returned to the City?
- I have a peace of mind in that sense. That both Patricia and Horacio are going to comply with the ruling. It's the first time a president has flouted a Supreme Court ruling. What is happening is serious institutionally, one more aggression of Kirchnerism against the porteños.
- Assume then that they will win the presidential elections
I have no doubt that Together for Change will govern with the centrality in the PRO. They are two very competitive candidates. It's going to be a very interesting STEP. I'm not going to demonstrate for one or the other because I'm a unity candidate.
- Is there a solution against the pickets in the city of Buenos Aires?
- We have an agreement of all Together for Change, of national and Buenos Aires order. The first thing to do is to remove the intermediation of social plans from the piqueteros. If that happens, their mobilization power will already be less. Second, there cannot be children in the marches: they have to be at home or at school. And in the City we have the Buenos Aires Citizenship Plan, which is canceled if the child does not attend school. And finally, if there is no dialogue with these sectors, use the public force to respect the right to move and those of those who live and work in the area. To the one who has a trade every picket destroys him.
It is possible that if he is head of government he will have to live with a Peronist governor of Buenos Aires, as is the case with Axel Kicillof now. How do you imagine that challenge?
I was the first mayor who was alone, with Kirchnerism in the presidency and in the governorship. There was Cristina and Scioli then. In any case, I am convinced that we are going to win the Province and the Nation, as well as the City.
- Is the Buenos Aires cabinet that comes going to be yellow, PRO line, or more mixed, with other actors of Together for Change?
- I'm going to put together the best possible team for this city. That will be my duty if I am head of government. The team that is there has a lot of valuable people, who have a lot to give. But I also imagine new people. And while I imagine a centrality of the PRO, it will not be a team only limited to that. In Vicente López I added people who did not come from politics and learned and contributed a lot.
- Do you define your running mate?
- No, it's going to be a team decision.
- Can the candidatures be mixed after the PASO?
- It is an option given by the system in the City. We would all have to agree.
- Are you concerned that Javier Milei's growth in polls will impact the City?
- No leader owns anyone. There must be Buenos Aires voters out there who voted for someone else in the past and now they can vote for me. My challenge is to bring them. I think I can represent some people who maybe think of Milei as a national reference and out there they want to vote for me here.
- Do you have a good relationship with Milei?
- I have spoken with him, there are some ideas with which I agree, which were our flags from the beginning. There are others in which I have differences, especially his way of addressing some of our references is not my way. But I am respectful of the people who have been voted in, from the left to the right.
Can we dialogue with Kirchnerism?
- Dialogue I can have with everyone. Now, agreeing is another matter, especially when institutions and freedoms are at stake. There is no possible agreement there, it is a limit that.
The dinner that was not with Rodríguez Larreta and the talks of "older brothers" with Mauricio Macri
Jorge Macri, pre-candidate for head of the Buenos Aires Government. Photo: Juano Tesone.
Family ties are central to Jorge Macri's life. To the point that last Monday, when Horacio Rodríguez Larreta confirmed that he was going to be a candidate, in the exclusive Palermitan pizzeria where they met, he had dinner with his wife, María Belén Ludueña, with one of his children and with a friend.
"There was no dinner with Horace, as was said, it was simply a meeting. Then we took advantage and stayed eating as a family, "says the Minister of Government of Buenos Aires about the frantic night in which Larreta blessed him over Fernán Quirós, the other possible pre-candidate.
That night he was also called Patricia Bullrich, María Eugenia Vidal and Mauricio Macri, the other three legs of the small table of the PRO. Of the former Minister of Security he values that she has supported him from the beginning, towards the former governor of Buenos Aires he is united by great respect and towards his cousin, the former president, a relationship that transcends the family.
"With Mauricio we have a different relationship according to each issue. When we speak, sometimes they are personal talks, with a familiar tone. We are both eldest children of two strong parents, we have that in common and the fact that we are both passionate about politics, we love to talk about management," he says of his cousin.
Carrying a famous surname does not represent a backpack, says the former mayor of Vicente López. Although it does recognize as a "cimbronazo" the passage to the public. "My children had politics go out the window. They had a father who always moved in private, who was not so well known. There are times when they feel happy and proud of the work I do, and others when they wonder why I found a passion in this," he confesses.
On his relationship with Belén Ludueña, whom he married in October last year, he explains: "It's different, because she fell in love with me being a politician, and I fell in love with her being a journalist."
The youngest of the politicians Macri highlights those who were the architects of Together for Change, in 2014. To his cousin Mauricio, for the PRO, to the radical Ernesto Sanz, and to the leader of the Civic Coalition, Elisa Carrió, on whom he reflects: "Those who took the first step in the construction of Together for Change, who had the courage to put aside prejudices, deserve a lot of respect for me. They went to a place that was not obvious, that of the agreement."
Jorge Macri is 58 years old, is Piscean and was born in Tandil, but two months later he settled in the city of Buenos Aires with his parents. He has two sons, a daughter and is married to journalist María Belén Ludueña. Cousin of former President Mauricio Macri, he also began his activity in the business sector, leading a family business. In 2002, he joined the Creer y Crecer Foundation, and from there began his political career. In 2005, in his first electoral experience, he was voted deputy of the province of Buenos Aires, a year later he assumed the Buenos Aires presidency of the PRO and in 2009 he revalidated his seat as a legislator in the Province. In 2011 he was elected mayor of Vicente López, a position he formally resigned on June 1, although he had been on leave since the end of 2021, when he assumed as Minister of Government of the city of Buenos Aires. He will be the pre-candidate for head of the Buenos Aires Government of the PRO in the next elections.
At the touch
A project: That the whole city of Buenos Aires is equally beautiful.
A leader: Nelson Mandela.
A hero: José de San Martín.
One meal: In family, whatever.
One drink: Red wine. Malbec.
A society you admire: Argentina, because it resists.
A memory of your childhood: The smell of linden and cooking with my old lady.
A pleasure: Any free time I have with my family and with Belén, my wife.
A dream: May Argentina once again be a place where effort is rewarded.
A movie: Barbarian invasions.
A series: Merli.
A book: The primordial silence, by Santiago Kovadloff.
A challenge: Overcome the efforts of Mauricio and Horacio. To be a better head of government than they are.