Monday, March 21, 2016
‘Vulture’ bill vote spells trouble for PJ election
La Cámpora leader Máximo Kirchner said a “political fight” would result from the holdouts bill vote in the Lower House.
Máximo Kirchner vows to fight dissident Peronists who ‘lowered their heads’ in Congress
Days after the government-sponsored holdout bill was approved in the Lower House, La Cámpora head Máximo Kirchner declared yesterday that Victory Front (FpV) leaders were headed for an imminent, heated political battle for the leadership of the Peronist party.
Referring to those “who lowered their heads to the ‘vulture’ funds,” Kirchner — the son of former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner — acknowledged that recent turmoil within the party had begun to affect the FpV’s traditional alliances. In last week’s holdout bill vote, six Kirchnerite lawmakers voted in favour of the bill introduced by the ruling Let’s Change (Cambiemos) coalition of President Mauricio Macri.
Kirchner recently became a national lawmaker in the Lower House, serving for Santa Cruz province.
“There were leaders that said they didn’t like the deal but voted (for it) anyway ... they shouldn’t have voted then,” Kirchner said, arguing that those that voted for the legislation did not represent his party.
In total, more than 60 Peronists voted in line with the government.
“There will definitely be a political fight which will be taken everywhere, not only to the heart of the party but also society,” the leader of the Kirchnerite youth organization told Radio del Plata yesterday.
Unity or division
On Saturday, FpV lawmakers and leaders took part in a rally held at Avellaneda’s National Technological University (UTN), where they affirmed their unified opposition to the stance of dissident Peronists, ahead of the upcoming May 8 Justicialist (PJ) party elections.
Former Buenos Aires province governor Daniel Scioli, who also attended the event in Avellanada, however stressed recently that party leaders needed to focus on “joining together” and not on division.
In an interview given to the Página/12 daily, Scioli said party leaders need to put their past differences aside to try and “recreate the confidence that was lost” and create “a response to the problems that are continually appearing.”
Scioli, who lost the recent presidential election to Macri, denied he was thinking of running for the party’s leadership position — a possibility first raised last week by his former Cabinet chief Alberto Pérez.
“I will always promote meetings between different sectors of a political party. At this moment, I don’t feel it necessary to be a (candidate) in any election ... we need to concentrate on defending our people that are facing serious problems after 100 days of this new administration,” Scioli added.
Reschuffling party lines
Since January, several groups have quit the FpV caucus in the Lower House, which has weakened the party’s clout in Congress. Set against a backdrop of political change, the FpV is still lacking a clear leader at the helm, with Fernández de Kirchner seemingly out of sight and Scioli saying he is uninterested in leading. There is only a month and a half to go until the internal party elections take place.
There are plenty of Peronists in the Lower House however. Among the blocs who identify themselves as Peronists are the FpV, Sergio Massa’s Renewal Front, a bloc led by former Córdoba governor José Manuel De la Sota, the new “Justicialist Bloc” headed by former FpV lawmaker Diego Bossio, a small bloc led by former Massa ally Darío Giustozzi and 10 other small Peronist parties.
Many of these smaller blocs were formed only this year as the former ruling party splintered. The “pure” Kirchnerite bloc, which began the year with 96 lawmakers, now only has 79 members. A total of 14 former FpV lawmakers have switched to Bossio’s Justicialist Bloc.
The splintering of the Kirchnerite bloc however is hardly the only example in Congress. The A New Alternative (UNA) caucus also fractured at the beginning of this legislative year.
Days ago, six lawmakers tied to De La Sota’s party decided to switch their allegiance to Massa’s party. This has allowed the bloc, led by the former Tigre mayor, to total 23 lawmakers, making the Renewal Front now the second-largest Peronist party in the Lower House.
Massa’s bloc is now called United Federalists for a New Argentina, while De La Sota’s faction is known as United for a New Argentina. Giustozzi’s Social Christian bloc has four members, and the Civic Front of Santiago del Estero — formerly allied with the FpV, but now close to the new government — has six members.
Herald staff with Télam, online media