When he left for Peru on Tuesday, Alberto Fernández’s plans did not include the urgency of having to find a defense minister. The President always highlighted the management of Agustín Rossi and was betting that he would continue in his position, but in the middle of the trip he had to appeal to an “ethical” rule to try to resolve the intern in Santa Fe, which precipitated the departure of the Santa Fe, who this Friday he said goodbye to the military. However, and in the midst of the isolation that was imposed to prevent the spread of the Delta variant of coronavirus, this Friday the head of state resumed his agenda from the Quinta de Olivos and during the weekend he will advance in the discussion of possible replacements. “There are still no names, Alberto is going to take these days to define,” they repeated late at night in the presidential environment.
It is that the return of Fernández did not change the scenario with respect to Rossi’s successor. Of the castling that would mean the jump of Minister Sabina Frederic from Security, or the names of Daniel Scioli, Gustavo Beliz and the Secretary of Security of Santa Fe, Germán Montenegro; at the Casa Rosada they said they were not aware of it and even ridiculed the journalistic versions. “They are inventions, they cannot have come from the mouth of any official because Alberto still did not speak to anyone,” said an official who was part of the official delegation that arrived in Buenos Aires on Thursday night.
More forceful was the denial of an incipient rumor that circulated through the corridors on Friday: the eventual landing of Aníbal Fernández, controller of the Río Turbio Carboniferous Sites (YCRT). “Impossible, it’s nonsense,” was the reply. The former chief of staff never hid his intention to be taken into account to return to the front line and, after a period of coldness in the relationship, a few weeks ago he returned to lunch with Alberto F. at Casa Rosada. But it seems that it is still not taken into account.
In this context, during the weekend Alberto F. will advance in the search for names and it is expected that he will have a contact with Cristina Kirchner, with whom he usually agrees on each entry into the Cabinet. It is known, although it does not elect in all cases, the vice account with veto power.
“(The Minister of Defense) is going to be 100 percent Alberto. The rule is that each space he takes, puts the replacement,” they repeat close to the president, remembering that Rossi’s arrival in December 2019 did not obey his belonging to the Kirchnerist universe but rather to his affinity and closeness to the President, with whom since December 2017 he converged in a group of leaders -among whom were also the outgoing Minister of Social Development, Daniel Arroyo, and Foreign Minister Felipe Solá, in other – that he began to engineer an opposition unit that would defeat Mauricio Macri.
“The only time that the rule was not complied with was when Marcela (Losardo) of Justice left and above (Martín) Soria belongs to no one,” they relativized in Government about the objections that are made around that maxim.
With the appointment of Juan Zabaleta in Social Development, replacing Arroyo, already secured, the President will have at least until Tuesday to define the new Defense Minister. Will you take Rossi’s advice, who in the last hours sought to lower the tension with a conciliatory speech and was encouraged to propose the continuity of the team that he led during Cristina’s government and in these 19 months? “There is no hurry, it is an area that can function perfectly until the new minister assumes,” they explain in Balcarce 50, endorsing that Rossi’s secretaries and undersecretaries will remain operational until receiving orders from the new chief.
The intention, in any case, is to make the double announcement once the head of the Presidential Medical Unit, Federico Saavedra, orders the end of the isolation of the entourage. It could last less than what is foreseen by the DNU for passengers returning to the country, as long as no positive emerges. For now, on Tuesday, Fernández and the collaborators who accompanied him will undergo a new PCR test. “If it tests negative again, it could be considered a compliment,” summarized official sources.
For this reason, some already speculate that Alberto could leak the name during the weekend and draw up an eventual act of double assumption for Wednesday, when his return to Casa Rosada would take place.
In the midst of the dance of names and denials, and despite Rossi’s efforts to conciliate, there is a growing malaise within the Frente de Todos due to the ways that Fernández resorted to make Santa Fe resign. Beyond his challenge to the list that the governor of Santa Fe, Omar Perotti, closed with Cristina, since he is a man resisted by La Cámpora, the outgoing minister is an unconditional historical of the first Kirchnerist hour. “We have to take better care of each other, Rossi is not the same as (María Eugenia) Bielsa or (Alejandro) Vanoli,” a historical leader K grumbled when referring to other discharged during the current administration.