After hesitating for months, former Argentine President Mauricio Macri announced this Sunday that he will not seek to return to the Casa Rosada in this year's elections and offered his full support to the opposition coalition Together for Change. The unknown now is what former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner will do.
"I want to ratify the decision that I will not be a candidate in the next elections," Macri said, without making it clear what he meant by "ratify," since he had never expressly said before that he would not run for the presidency. The former head of state between 2015 and 2019 criticized populism and "messianic leaders" and harshly referred to the Peronist government of Alberto Fernández.
"I am very confident in the learning of these years, that they will elect the one who best represents us and that this person will have the support of all. We will never again have a puppet as president," said the center-right leader, thus opening the way in the August presidential primaries for Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, mayor of Buenos Aires, and Patricia Bullrich, former Minister of Security. The Radical Civic Union (UCR), which is part of the coalition, nominates Gerardo Morales, governor of Jujuy, while the Civic Coalition (CC), the third leg of the opposition conglomerate, nominates former deputy Elisa Carrió.
Macri's announcement redoubles the pressure on Vice President Fernández de Kirchner, who announced in December that she would not be a candidate "for anything", but who is being pressured by Peronism to review that decision. The two-time president herself was sentenced in December to eight years in prison for defrauding the State, although the sentence is appealable. Despite the fact that nothing about her prevents her from running for public office, the toughest Kirchnerism presents her as a victim of a proscription.
Macri, who throughout his political career showed affinity with Peronism and incorporated many Peronists into his party, detached himself from that political movement in his message by criticizing, without naming him, its founder, Juan Domingo Perón.
"Almost 80 years ago, an important part of Argentine society chose to believe in messianic leaders, characters who would supposedly save us and lead us to a better life. Many Argentines in good faith placed their hopes in them and gave them the possibility of producing the changes they needed. But this kind of leadership ended up being very damaging to the country. It gave disproportionate power to people as fallible as anyone."
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