Argentine president Nestor Kirchner managed to impose his man as the ruling Peronist Party secretary general in spite of an internal crisis following a confrontation with some of the most powerful Peronist governors of the country.
Northern province governor Eduardo Fellner was elected to lead the Peronist party during a heated meeting of delegates from all the country expect for president Kirchner who was represented by his wife Senator Cristina Fernández.
"This is not the first party congress where I'm not allowed to express myself", said Mrs. Kirchner who demanded an end to internal bickering and a renewal of Peronism.
But Mrs. Kirchner also warned "this could very well be the last congress where we meet", in direct reference to the presidential project of a horizontal political force that includes independents and left leaning leaders who are allied with the current administration.
President Kirchner excused his absence saying he had "more important business", but it was obvious he wanted to avoid a confrontation with several powerful governors, including Jose Manuel De la Sota from Cordoba, who felt "discriminated" by the human rights organizations that did not invite them to participate in the March 24 memory commemoration of the last military coup in Argentina (1976).
On that day the notorious Mechanical School of the Argentine Navy that became the bloodiest detention, torture and disappearance centre of the 1976/83 military dictatorship, was converted into a Memory Museum to the honour of all those who suffered human rights offences.
Mr. De la Sota was banned from the event for his closeness with former president Carlos Menem and his supposedly not sufficiently vigorous condemnation of the military dictatorship.
However President Kirchner "did not defend the banned governors" and they published an open letter in Argentina's newspapers recalling their commitment to democracy, reconciliation and the Peronist Party. This irritated the president.
Former president Eduardo Duhalde, even when his wife had a strong exchange of words during the congress with Mrs. Kirchner sent a letter appealing to the party's unit and support for the administration.
Mr. De la Sota himself, who apparently was barred from one of the vice-president chairs of the new Peronist organization, also supported the Kirchner administration but demanded his right "to think differently" inside the party.
But in spite of the turmoil Mr.Fellner was elected to conduct the Peronist Party.
Analysts believe that in this first round the strong leaders of Peronism privileged unity and support to the administration, but as Mr. Kirchner keeps advancing in his own project of a different more horizontal Peronism attractive to other left leaning political forces, things could begin to change.