The deadline to register the final parties, fronts and coalitions for the upcoming October legislative elections expired yesterday, with the greatest surprise of the political week being the announcement by former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her allies of a new party that will run under the slogan Unidad Ciudadana para volver a tener futuro (“Citizens United to Have a Future Again”).
The new front is composed of the Federal Commitment Party led by San Luis Governor Alberto Rodríguez Saá, the Frente Grande led by Ensenada mayor Mario Secco, the Kolina group led by lawmaker Carlos Castagneto, Nuevo Encuentro by Martín Sabbatella and the Victory party by Aldo San Pedro.
“After being tricked and the electoral fraud: the second phase of austerity. Citizens united to have a future again,” tweeted the former president, providing a link with the new front’s 15-point platform.
Although it wasn’t confirmed if Fernández de Kirchner herself would head the list of this new front — amid widespread speculation of a return to frontline politics and a senatorial run — political analysts believe her former grouping, the Victory Front (FpV), has created a separate party group in order to dodge the Peronist primaries and retain more influence over its preferred list of candidates. The FpV dates back to 2005 and late former Néstor Kichner.
Fernández de Kirchner is expected to officially launch Unidad Ciudadana next Tuesday with a political rally at the Arsenal de Sarandí soccer stadium in Avellaneda. The political primary map is not completely defined yet however, with lists of party candidate only having to be presented eight days from now on June 24.
There will be a total of 13 fronts competing in the elections in Buenos Aires province — the largest and most populous province in the country. But while Unidad Ciudadana will now no longer compete against their Peronist allies within a primary, they will still have to face them in the October elections.
The Justicialist (Peronist) Party primaries will now have two main tickets in August primary election for Buenos Aires province. One will be led by former interior and transport minister, Florencio Randazzo, and the other by José C. Paz Mayor Mario Ishii. Up until the very last moment, there had been rumours that a third option would appear but the option was finally disregarded.
The ruling Let’s Change (Cambiemos) coalition, meanwhile, will also not have any primaries and will be going into the elections with one list of candidates. It is still not known who will head the ticket, but it is believed that Education Minister Estaban Bullrich and director of the Matanza-Riachuelo river basin (ACUMAR) director, Gladys González, will head the respective slates for Upper and Lower Houses.
The final lists will be confirmed next week as the deadline for their submission is June 24. Sergio Massa and Margarita Stolbizer, who announced back in May that they would join together to form the 1 País alliance, are also in the running. Stolbizer is to head the ticket for the Senate and the former mayor of Tigre is running for re-election to the Lower House for Buenos Aires province.
In Santa Fe province the main development was the rupture of the Progressive Front between the Socialist party, UCR Radical party and the Civic Coalition. Both the Civic Coalition and UCR decided to formally abandon the front and join the Let’s Change coalition, registering under its name. The Radical party’s decision to abandon the front, in favour of President Mauricio Macri’s grouping is the most noteworthy political change in the province. UCR and PRO leaders both praised the move, stating that it would help them solidify their alliance.
“This is a step forward in consolidating the national movement for an election that will be vital in continuing this process of change that we are undergoing in Argentina,” said Santa Fe province’s UCR party chairman Julián Galdeano.
The Secretary for University Policies, Radical lawmaker Albor Cantard, PRO’s Luciano Laspina and Civic Coalition member Lucia Lehmann will lead the Let’s Change list.
Eight alliances were registered to compete for the nine Lower House seats, 12 mayorships and 55 town councils which are up for grabs in Santa Fe this October. In addition to Cambiemos, the Frente Justicialista Peronist ticket, Unidos por una nueva Alternativa, Proyecto Santafesino, Santafesino Cien por Ciento, Partido Demócrata Cristiano, Partido Tercera Posición and Partido de la Cultura, la Educación y el Trabajo parties will run.
In Tucumán province the ruling Peronist party abandoned the Victory Front (FpV) and instead registered itself as the Justicialist Front of Tucumán, with the surprise addition of the Renewal Front party led by Massa. Meanwhile, the Let’s Change provincial alliance for the Bicentenario was joined by the Radical, PRO and Christian Democratic party — and surprisingly — Libres del Sur which opposes Macri.
Córdoba province will have two major fronts competing, the Let’s Change Juntos por Córdoba against the Peronist grouping of the Unión por Córdoba front. Juntos por Córdoba will be composed of the PRO, UCR, Civic Coalition and Civic Front parties. Unión por Córdoba will be composed of the Renewal Front, the Peronist party in Córdoba, the Democratic Christian Party, the FE, the Unión por Libertad y Desarrollo, the MID, the Unión Vecinal Federal, the Mov. de Acción Vecinal and the Unión Celeste y Blanco party.
In Mendoza, you have the PRO, UCR, Civic Coalition and Renewal Front joining in a coalition to compete with the Peronist and Victory Front party. The Peronist party had been seeking to incorporate the Renewal Front into their group, but the negotiations fell apart at the last minute with Massa making an agreement with Radical Governor Alfredo Cornejo.
In Buenos Aires City there will be seven major alliances in competition. One is the Vamos Juntos coalition, bringing together PRO, the Civic Coalition led by Elisa Carrió, Unión por Libertad and Confianza Pública. Former US ambassador Martín Lousteau will lead the Evolución Ciudadana front, which includes the Radical and Socialist parties. There had been talks over whether his front would join with the 1 País group, but they weren’t able to come to an agreement.
Meanwhile, Unidad Porteña will be formed by the Victory Front and the Peronist party. The Leftist Front for Socialism party will be integrated with the Movement for Socialist Workers and Advanced Socialist Movement and the Leftist Front (FIT) party will also compete alongside Massa and Stolbizer’s 1 País, and the Convocatoria Abierta por Buenos Aires (CAxBA).