Argentina
The Queen's Castling
Por Ignacio Fidanza
Cristina Kirchner's historic decision to run for VP instead of President opens both the possibility of an escape from the fracture, or a return to that toxic formula of Campora to the Government, Perón to power.

More enigmatic than ever before, Cristina made a play of a polyhedral density that may be too early to understand in all its dimensions. It can be a last mile blunder or the key that unlocks a triumph that she had not guaranteed.

Is it the first step of a negotiation with federal Peronism, in which Alberto Fernández fulfills the role of interim candidate until there is a global agreement? We do not know, but not few voices orbiting that universe wish that that was the final goal of the former president.

Alberto Fernández was anointed, but all eyes are on Sergio Massa, the only non-Kirchnerist Peronist who retains votes that could end up in the former president's pocket if he were not a candidate. "With Sergio in, we win in the first round," Cristina said at the Instituto Patria. For that reason, in that heterogeneous group that is the non-Kirchnerist Peronism, the big question is: "What is Massa going to do?".

We do not know either. But we already have some clues. Cristina's move to the sideline and the election of Alberto Fernández were lived with euphoria in the offices of Massa's Renewal Front. "This makes everything easy", they said.

Cristina Kirchner withdrew her candidacy to facilitate an agreement within Peronists to defeat Macri.

But Massa was not the only one delighted with the news. When the name of Alberto was just beginning to emerge as a possibility in Kirchner's ticket, several governors rushed to applaud the decision. Among those was Rosana Bertone, governor of Tierra del Fuego, who was already aligned with Kirchner, but so did other more neutral political players like governors Juan Manzur from Tucuman, Gerardo Zamora from Santiago del Estero, and Gustavo Bordet, Governor of Entre Rios. Meanwhile, Cordoba's Mauricio Schiaretti is playing the "she loves me, she loves me not" game, and risks depetaling the flower.

If observed within a timeline, Cristina's decision has little of surprising and is a logical enough consequence of her approach to the most traditional sectors of Peronism - governors and unions - that culminated with her visit to the Justicialist Party headquarters, the core of Peronism. The Cristina of the second term, of the marvelous youth, fascinated with La Campora, the young wing of her political movement, of the courtyard rallies, evolves again.

If observed within a timeline, Cristina's decision has little of surprising and is a logical enough consequence of her approach to the most traditional sectors of Peronism - governors and unions - that culminated with her visit to the Justicialist Party headquarters, the core of Peronism.

The impact of Cristina's announcement was felt within the Government, even if Chief of Staff Marcos Peña's reaction was the same as usual: Nothing changed, and if it did, it was in our favor. Macri 2019.

However, from the Casa Rosada urgent calls were made to ensure governors did not abandon Macri's Federal Alternative ticket, to prevent a confluence with Kirchnerism that they believe could leave them out of power in the first round of the election next October.

The strategy of immobility to Cristina's move, which goes from Peña to Schiaretti, denying the deep political impact of a decision that changed the game, or the more elegant but equally suggestive silence of former Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna, are defensive reactions that offer a clue about who could benefit and who could be harmed by the decision of the former president, who once again proved to be one step ahead of the others.

"In the end, Cristina was the rational Peronist", joked an unsuspecting Kirchnerist leader. Her move still lacks the result to be able to determine if it was also effective, but it cannot be denied that it contains a recognition of the limits of reality from the former president, something we are yet to see in Macri, the other gear of this plague called polarization.

As she makes clear in her video, Cristina accepts that she has no regional or geostrategic framework to govern fluently, and warns that even if she wins, the problem is the immense economic and social challenge that the next administration will face. Choosing as the head of her ticker the man who was his pragmatic Chief of Staff, Cristina draws a prudent distance from Chavismo, and seems to recognize that the next government will face a landscape that makes the idea of ??riding in solitude unworkable.

This begs the question of why Macri believes that -in his case- it is possible, against the opinion of the main political leaders of his coalition, such as Emilio Monzó and others like Alfredo Cornejo, who have tired of shouting to the void that, if in this mandate was desirable to expand the political base, in the next will be inevitable.

But the decision also has its disturbing side. The idea of ??enthroning a vicar president to overcome the veto of the powers that be is not new in Peronism. The country has already suffered the toxic dynamics of "Cámpora to the government, Perón to power". As it also lacerated with the historic renunciation of Evita. And Cristina, truer to herself than ever, gave herself the pleasure of mixing those two hits of the Peronist catalogue. 

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