Two Argentine opposition groups announced this week their presidential tickets for the coming October election that are expected to compete with President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner who has to yet confirm her bid even when all opinion polls show her a clear winner in the first round.
The main opposition middle of the road Radical Party (UCR) presidential candidate Ricardo Alfonsin announced that economist Javier González Fraga will be his running mate in October. The news was released on the same day that it was confirmed by a Radical Party leader that an alliance with the Socialist party had fallen through.
González Fraga was a governor of Argentina’s Central Bank and owns a dairy company La Salamandra, amongst other business pursuits. Alfonsin is the son of former president Raul Alfonsin, the first elected leader to rule Argentina (1983/1989) following the collapse of the 1976/1983 dictatorship.
Earlier in the day Alfonsin talked about the frustrated alliance with the Socialists: “I don’t feel guilty about what we are doing in the Buenos Aires province” in direct reference to the accord with Conservative lawmaker Francisco De Narváez that scared the Socialists led by Santa Fe governor Hermes Binner.
After a long meeting between the UCR and the Socialist Party, Radical leader Angel Rozas announced: “it is official, the Alfonsín-Binner alliance is not going to happen”, as the Santa Fe governor rejected the idea of running as vice-presidential candidate.
The break-up between the Radical Party and the Socialists was a long-time coming, as in the last few weeks both Alfonsín moved closer to De Narváez and Socialist leaders emphatically rejected the possibility of sharing a common front with the Buenos Aires province gubernatorial candidate.
De Narvaez a new comer to politics and a rich businessman was crucial in defeating the Argentine government in the mid term elections of 2009, in their main political turf, the province of Buenos Aires. At the time former President Nestor Kirchner was the organizer of an aggressive campaign that is blamed for having scared many independent votes in the province, which represents 35% of Argentina’s electorate.
Nevertheless UCR Senator Gerardo Morales admitted that the Radicals will try to clinch accords with Socialists in provinces where Alfonsín’s candidacy isn’t affected.
Meanwhile, Binner has yet to announce whether he will run as presidential candidate for the Socialist party or what his future electoral plans are.
The Alfonsín-González Fraga is the first official ballot to be announced that will run on the presidential elections.
The second ticket to be announced this week was that of former caretaker president and presidential candidate for the Popular Union (UP), Eduardo Duhalde who confirmed that Chubut Governor Mario Das Neves is to be his running mate in the upcoming October elections.
Duhalde explained that next Monday they will be a meeting to define last minute details, and to plan the party proposal program.
Duhalde and Das Neves belong to the hegemonic Peronist movement but have split from the main current now under control of Mrs Kirchner, ‘Victory Front’. The original plan was to create a Federal Peronism but the idea collapsed after the potential presidential hopefuls could not agree on alliances and the pecking order.
Governor Das Neves who has (had?) a strong grip over the Patagonian province of Chubut and presidential ambitions had to give up his plans following the painful showing of the candidate he chose to succeed him in the governor’s seat.
After months of vote counting and repeated ballots in certain questioned electoral circuits he finally scraped in but with a mere difference of less than 200 votes. The defeated candidate was supported by President Cristina Fernandez and holds the key in the provincial legislative.
The Cristina Kirchner team allegedly celebrated in private the announcement since the more candidacies, the more atomized the opposition anticipates an almost certain clear victory for the president’s re-election bid in the first round, if she confirms such an option.