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Perfil (Sabado) - 2021-04-24

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Behind the scenes, Kicillof and Rodríguez Larreta seek to rebuild bridges

BUENOS AIRES TIMES

BY ROSARIO AYERDI @ROSARIOA

“If we fix things with province, we’ll fix them with the government.” That’s the scenario imagined by the small circle of trusted figures at the heart of Horacio Rodríguez Larreta’s government. They assume the first negotiations after last weekend’s rupture and the judicialisation of Covid-19 restrictions will be between the regional administrations, not with the Casa Rosada. The bridges have already been built, again. The objective is that the officials who manage the pandemic on either side of Avenida General Paz will once again look at the numbers and find common ground. A photo-op between Rodríguez Larreta and Kicillof will be difficult. Both administrations admit that their respective Cabinet chiefs and health ministers will have to lead the way. Conversations are set to resume. There are already informal talks – Kicillof never ceased dialogue completely and he continues to speak with City officials such as the Vice-mayor Diego Santilli. The latter is one of those seeking a coordinated solution to the measures announced unilaterally by President Alberto Fernández nearly 10 days ago. Today the City government recognises that the next round of measures must begin to be coordinated with Kicillof. Not only because they are the two leaders who are in command of the Buenos Aires metropolitan area (AMBA), where infections are surging, but also because if there is an agreement with the governor, Fernández will accept it. At some point, the president will have to sit down with Rodríguez Larreta too. In the Casa Rosada they are more reluctant than in City Hall, though both administrations know that the number of infections at present makes it increasingly more inevitable. A new meeting between the duo could take place even before April 30, the date on which Fernández’s measures expire. The City admits that if the number of infections is far from stable. If they do not slow, new measures will have to be advanced. However, as they have stressed all week, the cancellation of in-person classes is not on the table. Nearly 30,000 confirmed cases were recorded midweek. The national government says this is an illustration of lax behavior. “We cannot continue like this for 10 more days,” they acknowledge in the Federal Capital as well. On April 30, the measures implemented by Fernández expire. The Supreme Court must still define the dispute over in-person classes, but the way things are going, the City and Province governments may end up having to put their dispute behind them earlier than expected.

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