The surprise exit of national lawmaker Elisa 'Lilita' Carrió from the soon-to-be opposition Juntos por el Cambio coalition has started to feed rumours and speculation about power relationships within the party – and how the group will work with president-elect Alberto Fernández and his incoming administration.
After the October 27 election, the “moderates” of the governing party are victorious from the power struggle: María Eugenia Vidal, the outgoing Governor of the Province of Buenos Aires, re-elected Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, Interior Minister Rogelio Frigerio; President of the Lower House of Congress Emilio Monzó; and Health and Development Minister Carolina Stanley. All are party members known to be in favour of building bridges with Frente de Todos lawmakers and officials.
These officials make up a group of Juntos por el Cambio members who are considering creating a joint governance plan with the incoming Peronist administration, giving the opposition a political framework during the transition and the Fernández administration’s first year. To this group of “moderates” can be added members from Civic Radical Union (UCR). In particular, Alfredo Cornejo, the head of the the UCR, outgoing Mendoza Province governor and soon-to-be national lawmaker, whose handpicked candidate Rodolfo Suárez managed to win the gubernatorial race in the province with over 50 percent of the vote, as well as Enersto Sanz and Jujuy Governor Gerardo Morales.
However a smaller, radical and hard-line wing of the party is still present. Led by Miguel Ángel Pichetto, President Mauricio Macri's Peronist vice-presidential candidate, Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, Media and Public Content chief Hernán Lombardi (the organiser of the campaign's #SíSePuede tour), and even Carrió herself. Her close friend and national deputy for Córdoba, Mario Negri, also forms part, despite his difficulties in presiding over UCR lawmakers since December.
Mauricio Macri transformed: he shifted from among the most radical hardliners to among the moderates during these past months, and last Monday’s meeting with Alberto Fernández definitely placed him in the aforementioned group. Despite never outwardly warring with 'Lilita,' he only publicly denounced her when she attacked his ministers (Frigerio and Minister of Justice and Human Rights Germán Garavano).
Marcos Peña always intended to maintain an equilibrium, but a great part of the “moderates” have been very critical of his leadership as Macri's Cabinet chief.
But it’s not just that, celebrations rose in the Casa Rosada too as Carrió announced her departure, especially on the bottom floor where Frigerio’s office is located. “Lilita” had targeted him, especially after the PASOs, and accused him of “gifting” the election to the Peronists governors.