"Victoria asked us to be punctual. And he arrived an hour and a half late.
The phrase serves as a summary of the bad climate between senators of La Libertad Avanza - they are sworn in this Thursday - and Vice President-elect Victoria Villarruel, who will take office next Sunday along with Javier Milei.
The relationship between Villarruel and the libertarian senators began withshort circuits. Some may seem minor, such as his delay to the meeting he had called last Tuesday. But among LLA members, it was directly interpreted as a snub.
But there are other issues that generate more anger at the start of the relationship between the vice president-elect and the future 7 libertarian senators.
One question that is being asked of him is that he has appropriated with exclusivity the political negotiations with the heads of the rest of the benches, from the Peronist to the PRO and the UCR. In none of the meetings that Villarruel held with the senators of other forces in recent days did any of the libertarian senators participate.
The 7 senators of La Libertad Avanza.
They point out that she behaves like their political boss when, they believe, she is not. They argue that she will be the president of the upper house, not the president of the La Libertad Avanza bloc.
"She is not Cristina Kirchner who has ascendancy over her caucus. Here we must resolve among ourselves," warn libertarians.
There is also another point that generates resentment among the elected senators of LLA. That Guillermo Montenegro, elected deputy of La Libertad Avanza and who operates as Villarruel's main political armor, does participate in the negotiations with the other forces.
"He's going to be a deputy, not a senator. The talks should be carried out by us and not by him," Montenegro is asked.
Three figures show the volume that Montenegro has for the vice-elect:
Of course, until Wednesday night Montenegro had not announced that he does not want to be a deputy and this Thursday he is expected to take the oath of office along with the other 129 legislators elected in October.
Parenthetically: it is said in the Senate that the pruning that Villarruel suffered in his attributions (before the election Milei said that he would be in charge of Defense and Security, which finally did not happen) was due to a discussion he had with the libertarian leader before the election.
The 7 senators-elect of LLA are Francisco Paoltroni (Formosa); Juan Carlos Pagotto (La Rioja); Bruno Olivera Lucero (San Juan); Ivanna Arrascaeta (San Luis); Bartolomé Abdala (San Luis); Ezequiel Atauche and Vilma Bedia (both from Jujuy).
The future bench started with a setback. Last week, it met and elected Abdala as the starter in a vote that ended 4-3. But the next day, Arrascaeta changed her vote and supported Atauche, who will now be the president of the libertarian bloc.
Victoria Villarruel with the designated provisional president of the Senate, Francisco Paoltroni.
For the Provisional Presidency of the Senate, Milei nominated Paoltroni, from Formosa. At Tuesday's meeting, to which Villarruel arrived late, Paoltroni was told of the discomfort of Milei's inner circle over statements he made in which he anticipated the package of laws that the government would send. The order was for no one to speak.
On their arrival in the Senate, some of the libertarians found themselves in an unexpected situation: they did not get offices in the Legislative Palace,the most coveted.
Foresighted, Abdala secured the position occupied until now by Adolfo Rodríguez Saá, whose mandate is ending.