“Are you there?”Eduardo “Wado” from Pedro asked Fernando Gray on WhatsApp. The mayor of Esteban Echeverría saw it coming. It was the call he was waiting for. The call he did not want to receive.
“Look, we were thinking …”, started the Minister of the Interior when the mayor returned the call. Wado advanced without further prelude and without specifying why he was speaking in the plural. Was not necessary to. When he speaks, La Cámpora is speaking and Cristina is speaking, although in this specific case they say that more than Cristina’s voice, one had to hear that of Máximo Kirchner.
Wado called to suggest that, taking advantage of the fact that Alberto Fernández will assume the presidency of the national PJ in March, it was time to make a drastic turn in the operation of the party in the province of Buenos Aires. He told her with all the letters: Máximo was to be anointed as the new leader.
The initiative began to take shape in secret during the last month and a half. Gray, however, was not taken by surprise. An intruder had advanced it to the current head of the Buenos Aires PJ, Gustavo Menéndez, the mayor of Merlo, with whom Gray has been alternating driving, a mechanism that sealed the peace and the list of unity between different sectors of the PJ when both assumed , in 2017. Those were difficult times for Peronism. Cambiemos had just won the elections for the second time in a row and the main loser in the district had been Cristina.
Menéndez and Gray had to lead when the polls placed María Eugenia Vidal and Macri as comfortable candidates for reelection. This leads them and those who support them to think that they want to take their seal away with a view to next year’s electoral process as a springboard for the presidential elections. “They put the body in and now they want to clean them”, argues a leader of classical Peronism, who lobbies so that non-campers mayors resist. Due to that alternation agreement, Gray will be in charge in 2021. He has a mandate until December 17. Wado urged to interrupt him.
-It can not. Until December you can not Gray replied during that phone call.
UeWell, but Maxi has to be the president now. And we have consensus De Pedro insisted.
-It is not impossible. If you resign and the rest of the directors resign …
Peronism has 47 councilors in the province of Buenos Aires, 48 if you count the president. But, in addition, there are 135 local party councils whose term expires on the same day. Does the Cámpora intend to advance at the same time on these tips? In any case, it does not entail a quick or easy resolution. It is assumed that if all the directors resigned, the alternate directors should do so simultaneously. An old PJ operator slides that it is nothing more than a New Year’s Eve fantasy. Those who work for La Cámpora did not rest even on the 24th in the afternoon. The plan continues.
Gray moves alongside Menendez and Juan Zabaleta, the Hurlingham communal chief. At least one of them discussed the issue with Alberto Fernández. Menendez met for two hours with Santiago Cafiero, the chief of staff. And the three spoke with the Minister of Public Works, Gabriel Katopodis, whom the President appointed as an interlocutor when he saw that the scandal escalated.
Alberto asked that they agree. The head of state did not stand in the place of arbitrator of conflicts, as so many times. He doesn’t say it in public, but supports the desire of those who promote Máximo. When several mayors shouted in the sky, Fernández sought to calm the spirits: he said that one thing is to support him and another to help him stay as the owner of the party in the Province. It would not be an easy limit to pin down.
The three mayors mentioned had agreed to endure the pressure. One of them did a tally of how many of their peers support them. The figure reassured him. That was in the middle of the week. Will it continue to be the case today or did a fracture occur in the last hours? WhatsApp groups have burned in recent days with cross accusations. Maximo found out. In an activity in Lomas de Zamora, as revealed Clarion, accused them of “doing operations against me” and predicted: “Let’s see if they have a back to endure.”
Máximo Kirchner and Cristina Fernández, in the last public act in La Plata.
The phrases did not take long to go viral in those groups. Those who were in the meeting wrote to those who had not attended. Were those words of the deputy heralding a dispute over resources? Will some mayors change in the shoes of Horacio Rodríguez Larreta? Is it true that Axel Kicillof took advantage of the crack to pass on old bills to the mayors?
For now, campers anticipate that they will be inflexible when it comes to putting together the lists for next year’s election contest. That is why they ignored the project to cancel the STEP.They ignored it and boycotted it. The governors were left pedaling in the air. Alberto must have done contortion exercises. He had backed the move.
Máximo suggested, during his angry minutes in Lomas, that those who want to fight internally should give it, but take charge of that decision. She spoke of “ingratitude” on the part of those who forgot that Cristina opened the ballots in 2019 and that she herself resigned her candidacy in pursuit of victory. She also shouted: “When I want to lead the PJ or whatever it will be with the votes”.
Shortly before the Christmas Eve toast, Wado De Pedro transmitted that same phrase to Zabaleta, in a last round of conversations to try to channel the negotiation: “Maxi does not want to lead 95 percent of the party. If he assumes it is with the support of all”. The minister insisted that the desire was not just for La Cámpora. He invoked the President. Zabaleta left open the possibility of continuing to negotiate.
Gray, Menéndez and Zabaleta are called “The Three Musketeers.” If you look at the novel by Alexander Dumas, the Musketeers were three friends who moved under the motto “one for all and all for one”. Although they say they are not alone. His most brilliant opponent in the league of Peronist mayors is Martín Insaurralde. It is the main sword of Máximo in the GBA in this new objective. They even attribute the idea of displacing the current Buenos Aires leadership to him. “That’s it, that of the alternation in the presidency has already happened … Now it is up to Máximo“is another message that campers send.
-Impossible. I am not going to resign nor am I going to ask anyone to resign. Until here they arrived. This is our limit Gray insisted in his talk with Wado.
The reconstruction of the talk has a different ending depending on the protagonists. Close to the mayor, they said that the phone was cut off, disgusted, both at the same time. De Pedro did not recognize that dramatic epilogue. He told his advisers that he had said to Gray: “If you don’t want me to be Maxi, don’t worry, don’t get in trouble.”
In the last hours, it emerged that a political table could be set up to discuss the best strategy. At that table the electoral question could also be addressed. If so, the situation of almost 20 suburban mayors who, due to current law, could not stand for re-election should be discussed. Everyone is looking for a gadget to re-introduce themselves. Perhaps it is a magic key to bring positions closer. To be continue.