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Propuesta Republicana
(Republican Proposal - PRO)

Propuesta Republicana (Republican Proposal party, known by its shortened form, PRO) governed the City of Buenos Aires (CBA, which is the Argentine Federal District) since 2007 and won the 2015 presidential elections. Born around the leadership of Mauricio Macri, a businessman shaped by neoliberal ideas, PRO quickly incorporated elements of the partisan and non-partisan classical right, but it also recruited incumbents from the major national-popular Argentine parties and from the world of think tanks and NGOs.

Although the forces of the right have ruled Argentina for much of the last hundred years, the conservative parties have only played minor roles during this time. This is due to several factors such as the fragmentation of the socioeconomic upper classes, the divorce between partisan and non-partisan elites, the Argentine history of coups -in which rightist forces played a leading role- and the fragmented party system that followed each dictatorship.

The major reason that explains the weakness of the partisan right is its inability to successfully face the rise of populism, especially in its Peronist version. By the mid-nineties, the Argentine right was, in one way or another, inside the Peronist government. This was something completely new, as one of the Argentine right’s main features had been its rejection of Peronism.

In 2001, a group of political and social activists began to meet at the “Believe and Grow Foundation” in order to design political and policy projects. The Foundation was headed by the businessman Mauricio Macri. In the 2003 City of Buenos Aires (CBA) elections, Macri obtained 37% of the vote in the first round, but was defeated in the second. However, contradicting the expectations of the specialized media, Macri and his people did not quit politics after their 2003 frustration, nor did they dissolve their initiative into a traditional organization. On the contrary, they began to strive to strengthen the party.

In 2003, after the center-left Peronist Néstor Kirchner was elected President for the Frente para la Victoria (Front for Victory, FPV), Macri announced his candidacy for CBA Mayor. His campaign was presented as part of a “new politics”. It is a matter of controversy how new PRO is, because more than half of its leaders are experienced politicians with traditional backgrounds.

PRO openly rejected the left/right traditional cleavage and focused on a neat management approach to public administration, combined with the promotion of some post-material values, which allowed it to attempt a reframing of political debate.

According a 2011 Survey, PRO leaders have consistently conservative positions on cultural issues (58% opposition to even discussing a law legalizing abortion, and an astounding 77% support for stricter regulation of foreign immigration in a country built by immigrants). At the same time, PRO leaders do not look so conservative regarding Government intervention: a majority (77%) accepts that the reduction of income differences between social groups is a duty of the State.

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