Until fifteen days ago, Alberto Fernández was convinced that there was no margin for the Frente de Todos to lose the elections and had projections that gave it a victory of between eight and ten points in the province of Buenos Aires. On Thursday, at Quinta de Olivos, he was reviewing the same measurements, made by the same pollsters, but with updated figures. Now they give him a smaller advantage on Buenos Aires land: between four and five points. The President expressed for the first time before his collaborators a fear that he did not foresee: that the undecided and the voters of different opposition forces (he spoke especially of those of José Luis Espert) end up leaning towards the “useful vote” and there will be a electoral crack.
Fernández goes through moments of political and emotional turbulence. His image has collapsed and his allies have put him in check. There is constant pressure from Cristina to make drastic changes. The first president has received some kind of ultimatum by its partners. They demand that he get rid of heavy names in the Cabinet and sharp turns in the handling of the economy. The vice president wants Santiago Cafiero, the Chief of Staff, and Martín Guzmán, the Minister of Economy, among others, to no longer be for the second part of the mandate. The legislative ones are won or lost.
Modifications do not end with public affairs. They would also involve private life. Although the controversy over the celebrations in Olivos in full quarantine have found an anchor, they continue to make people talk in certain environments, as if there are episodes that are still unknown or that are only approached in darkness.
Cristina and Máximo Kirchner seem to have extra clues. “Alberto has to solve his particular problems”Máximo told Héctor Daer, José Luis Lingieri, Gerardo Martínez and Andrés Rodríguez on Monday. The phrase was the subject of conjecture among the unionists, after the barbecue of more than two hours that they shared in a large house in San Telmo. What did the deputy mean? Eduardo “Wado” De Pedro made no comment. The Minister of the Interior, who had been the first to arrive, spoke little since Máximo’s arrival. “It was noticed who is the boss”, said one of the unionists.
The allusions to Fernández were various. It was said that Alberto is overacting their presence at events, perhaps to capitalize on an eventual victory. Suspicions are well founded. That’s what the Albertists are up to. “If we win, they will have to admit that the vaccination was a success,” they say. They could go out and say that this is the first time that Kirchnerism has not lost a midterm election since 2005. And the first Cristina has won since she was elected president, in 2007.
Campers believe that the government should be more concerned about lowering inflation and that wages do not lose the race against rising prices. Máximo slipped it at lunch in San Telmo, although Martínez interrupted him: “Let us take care of the joint women”, he claimed. Daer insisted on creating conditions for employment to grow again and Máximo blanked that an agreement with the opposition will be needed for that to happen.
The deputy could lead this move, along with Sergio Massa, who a few hours ago said again that the ruling party and opponents will have to sit down to chat at the same table when the electoral foam drops. Cristina would play a minor role in those conversations. Minor in terms of exposure. Never behind the scenes, where your voice is the most heard. Máximo sought to limit his role in the face of trade unionists. He told them that their mother is always put at the center of the scene “even though she has nothing to do with some things.”
The flirtations with the opposition began several months ago. Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and María Eugenia Vidal insist on the contrary. They excuse themselves that “there is nothing formal.” It is logical that they do so, no matter how few believe them. There are elections and they have received strong pressure from some of their allies. “Operation aborted“Elisa Carrió said days ago, in an audio that was circulated among some members of the opposition coalition. If it was aborted, it is because there was something. There was and may still be.
The mayor found a shortcut to get out of the gap: “If they call us to talk, we will submit it to an institutional decision by Together for Change,” he said. “What if they summon you in person?“They asked him days ago, in a cafe with a French name, in Palermo Chico. Larreta replied that he would be willing to go to the Casa Rosada, to enter in full view of all; later, he clarified, he would transfer the proposal to the heart of Together for Change. You don’t want clandestine meetings that leave you stuck. His friendship with Massa, which he does not deny, often brings him headaches. The same as Vidal having declared that he was chatting with Máximo.
The hard wing of the macrismo believes it is in a good moment, despite the fact that Patricia Bullrich had to lower her candidacy. “The pigeons disappeared”, they ironize. Mauricio Macri gained air. You have heard him say: “I need more hawks”. The disputes between macristas, larretistas and radicals were relegated from the photos of Olivos. That does not mean that they do not exist.
Larreta and Vidal’s discursive turn is remarkable. But it should not be confused. It will last as long as the electoral process lasts. They both say they want to end the rift. They also boast that dialogue is the only thing that can unite the country. More: Larreta think of a coalition government, which will also house Peronists, if he were to become president in 2023. A name that you love? Juan Schiaretti. Placed to fantasize, there are those who maintain that the governor of Córdoba would be “the best chief of staff” that Horacio could have.
The opposition begins to see that the stars align in their favor in Córdoba, Mendoza, Santa Fe, the City of Buenos Ares and, perhaps, even in the Province, even though in their own polls Victoria Tolosa Paz appears above, and beyond the persistent climate of electoral apathy and general disenchantment with the political class.
In the presidential environment, on the other hand, there are days of uncertainty, sometimes with passages of anguish and anxiety. They wish the elections were made now. A victory could not stop, but it could cool the harassment of their own towards Alberto. The most loyal presidential allies do not see the day of shouting from the rooftops “did you see how badly we did not do it?” But the concern grows: “Do you know what internal coexistence would be if we lose? Do you know what the road to the general elections would be like?”Asks a front-line official.
In some reserved tables, there is already open talk that Cristina and La Cámpora would definitely seek to cope with the Government if a setback occurred. Those who frequently chat with the former president look at the mirror of 2013, when the opposition won the legislative elections and was the foretaste of what happened two years later with the presidential elections. That experience led to the most traumatic years for the Kirchner family.
Cristina went from the presidency and from gathering power into a fist to parading through the courts and accumulating prosecutions and orders for preventive detention, while her political force frayed and some of those who swore allegiance stepped away to acknowledge the corruption scandals. Several of its officials ended up in prison. As if that were not enough, in 2017, Cristina lost for the first time as a candidate the elections for senator and Florencia – processed, like Máximo – had to go live in Cuba.
Alberto’s post-election reaction is a mystery. What if you don’t pay attention to the changes they ask for? What if you do some but they don’t conform? What if the remedy is worse than the disease? What if he locks himself in his narrowest circle forever? Christinists fear what their actions will be. Alberto has privately slipped things that did not go down well. For example: that he needs Cristina, but that, given the circumstances and personal needs, they need him much more.