He is just 17 years old and in his fifth year of high school. Valentino Tupac Coletti Roumec became the youngest candidate for the primary elections for provincial offices in Mendoza. "We are tired of always governing the same, that's why I decided to run," he says.
Mendoza's primary elections for governor, legislators and municipal officials are next Sunday, June 11. Valentino is campaigning as a pre-candidate for provincial deputy for one of the lists of the Left and Workers Party.
The teenager accompanies the candidacies for governor and vice president of an elementary school teacher, Lautaro Jimenez and the history teacher, Noelia Barbeito, of the 1A Renew and Strengthen list, formed by the Workers Party for Socialism and the Socialist Workers Movement.
"Why can't we fight for a better life? I am convinced that the way out of the crisis is collective and on the left," says Valentino.
On Friday afternoon, in order to answer a telephone interview with the press, he asked his teacher for permission because he was in classes at the Paula Albarracín school, in the municipality of Maipú, in Greater Mendoza.
"The youth and workers are the ones who suffer the consequences of the last governments we have had. Young people are disenchanted and want to vote blank or vote for Milei, who proposes the same as Menemism," the teenager said in an interview with Mdz Radio.
He is convinced that there is a lack of knowledge regarding the candidates who are presented this Sunday and, those who will pass to the general election of September 24. "Most of the kids I talk to, including my classmates, were thinking of blank ballots. They see a very great discontent with the current government and the previous one. But they change their minds when I have spoken to them and shown that you have to fight," he says.
Enabled as a candidate
When the FIT registered Valentino on the list, the Electoral Board of Mendoza had to analyze if at the age of 17 he could participate. Beyond the fact that boys vote from the age of 16, Article 72 of the Constitution of Mendoza requires 18 years to be a candidate.
In the case of the position of provincial deputy, the law requires to be an Argentine citizen; of legal age; and have two years of residence in the province to those who were not born in it.
The response of the electoral authorities was affirmative in the case of this candidate because he will be of legal age when the final election is held, on September 24. "The provincial Constitution mentions the general election, not the Primaries (PASO). And Valentino will turn 18 on July 24 and will be old enough to compete in the provincial election," the Electoral Board said.
The Milei phenomenon
The greater adhesion among young people, especially men, that Javier Milei has is part of the analysis made by this candidate: "The people who support him are very young people who have not lived Menemism and it is the same. Big businessmen are also interested in Milei winning because it takes away rights from women and workers."
And he emphasized: "They tell us that many young people are with Milei, but there are also many who are with the left. Milei is a danger because he wants to steal our present and our future by taking away all the rights we fight for. If you look at Milei's platform you see that she wants to privatize education, health, that there are no rights for women, that we have precarious jobs and hand over all our natural resources."
Finally, he asked for the vote for the Left because it fights for the rights of young people: "for public education, for comprehensive sex education and women's rights, for the water of Mendoza, I was defending 7722 (anti-mining law) in the Legislature and in the streets, nobody told me."
Valentino does not come from a family with positions in politics. But militancy in values that coincide with leftist ideology. He clarified that he decided to present himself, as a representative of a group of young people who see how the proposals they have are clearly fundamental for a good functioning of society and change this system at its roots.
"Although my elders are not part of the party, they have class consciousness, and they are the ones who have taught me to work for the common good," says the youngest candidate for deputy in next Sunday's election in Mendoza.