The proximity of the closing of electoral alliances and the lists of candidates who will be able to compete in the August PASO accelerated the internal fight in the Frente de Todos. In the last hours, the President of the Nation received multiple pressures from his partners to withdraw from the competition the candidacies of the officials who respond to him. Although it is transmitted as a call for the unification of lists so that the ruling party gains competitiveness, the request can be summarized in another sentence: Daniel Scioli does not have to compete.
On Wednesday, it was the Peronist governors who called for a single presidential candidate. They were summoned at the request of Cristina Kirchner, who sent for them so that her desire for unification would reach the President in every possible way.
The conversation with Massa
But they were not just messages transmitted through caroms to the President. Sergio Massa told him in person in a meeting that lasted more than two hours and will continue this Thursday. At Wednesday's meeting, the economy minister and the president spent some time talking about the management – they agreed that changes in the automotive import regime will be announced on Monday – but the conversation later turned to political differences.
Massa did not ask for a unity list. He was more candid: he called for a single list, a way of making it clear that it will not emerge from negotiations or consensus with the President. Fernandez maintained what he said weeks ago: that Peronism is not in a position to unify anything and that the best way to summon the disenchanted is to give options for participation. A fact that they usually repeat in their team is that 67 percent of the people who decided not to vote in the 2021 legislative election in the Province of Buenos Aires had voted for the Frente de Todos in 2019. "Ours did not vote against us, they did not go to vote directly," they read in Albertism.
In addition to that, Fernandez again told Massa that he is not the one who is supporting Scioli's candidacy, despite the fact that two of his confidants, Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero and Minister Victoria Tolosa Paz, are working on the assembly of the candidacy of the ambassador to Brazil. "I'm not behind Daniel," Fernandez repeats.
On Monday, in a telephone conversation, Massa and Cristina finished agreeing on a common position on the lists. The two agreed that the ruling party has to avoid competition in the PASO. It is not a novelty for the parameters of the vice president: since she herself established the mandatory primaries in 2009, Kirchnerism never allowed more than one list to compete at the national level.
The tandem formed for months by the vice president and the economy minister is not willing to negotiate the point of the unification of lists. They even have the mechanism ready to, in case the president does not accept the request that Scioli step down from the competition, reassemble a coalition that excludes Fernández and the leaders who still answer to him. The new front they plan to create will be called Unidad Renovadora, and that name – an unimaginative but explicit mixture of the Christian brand Unidad Ciudadana, created by the vice president in 2017, and Massa's Frente Renovador – will reveal the discarding of the inclusive vocation that the Frente de Todos label had.
This Saturday, Massa will headline the Frente Renovador congress at the Direct TV Arena in Malvinas Argentinas. The minister will finish writing his speech on Friday, but Kirchnerism expects harsh words to press for the single list, which will be read as a warning for Scioli to desist.