BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina's main opposition party suffered a split on Wednesday after a dozen of its lawmakers quit, party leaders said, handing a boost to newly-elected President Mauricio Macri's hopes of pushing his legislative agenda through Congress.
The rupture within former President Cristina Fernandez's Front for Victory (FPV) party was confirmed by party chiefs after a day-long meeting in the capital Buenos Aires. The divide laid bare the internal battle over how to recover from November's election defeat.
Hector Recalde, leader of the FPV in the lower house, told reporters "more or less a dozen" legislators had left the party. That would leave it with 83 seats in the 257 seat chamber, meaning Macri's "Let's Change" alliance, which includes his PRO party, the Radical Party and several independents, is set to become the largest minority block in Congress.
Emerging from the meeting, some FPV party faithful struggled to contain their annoyance.
"This is bad news for the Argentine people," said FPV lawmaker Juliana Di Tullio. "I don't know what they represent anymore, but of course they spoke to the PRO."
The split means that Macri now no longer needs to negotiate with the FPV to secure a majority in Congress's lower house.