On July 22 of last year, the senator and leader of the Cabildo Abierto, Guido Manini Ríos, was interviewed by Mora Contents and declared there that he had “no problem debating or discussing with anyone” about the 135 articles of the law of urgent consideration (LUC) that would be submitted to a referendum. Communist senator Óscar Andrade jumped at the chance. “When you like” The front winger responded through Twitter. “That is the attitude to favor an informed decision of our people. Offers will surely rain down in the media,” he added.
The crossing did not remain in cyberspace: a series of consultations led to the first of five meetings being held in September between the respective press advisors, Mark Methol (Town meeting) and Marcos Casas (Communist Party), which took just over a month to agree on the issues that will focus the debate, which will finally take place this Tuesday, February 22, at 9:00 p.m. “We worked very well. We were very clear from the beginning that this was very powerful content,” said the advisor to the senator from the Front.
Even if it will not be the first debate on the LUC outside Parliament –in this last month there has been more than one in various media–, the participation of Manini Rios, leader of one of the coalition parties, will attract a lot of attention at this stage of the campaign. In any case, sources from Cabildo Abierto told The Observer that the efforts were made by Manini and his team, without coordinating with the partners.
Alejo Umpiérrez, mayor of Rocha and coordinator of the nationalist campaign command, said that “each partner in the campaign” has its independence and that he does not see Manini’s instance with Andrade badly because “the debate enriches society.”
There will be four areas of the LUC that will focus the debate. Manini proposed discussing security and education, while Andrade put housing and labor relations on the table. The front-runner has a precedent in this type of format: the debate he starred in with Colorado Ernesto Talvi during the 2019 primary campaign. Manini, meanwhile, will make his debut in television debates. According to Methol, the leader of Cabildo Abierto is very confident. “These are issues that he has been talking about since July of last year. He knows them, he talks to people, he has plenty of arguments,” he said.
Casas, for his part, explained why Andrade chose to discuss housing and labor relations. “These are the issues that he has always studied the most, and it is where the interests of the LUC are possibly more visible,” express. Andrade’s adviser recognized that security and education have been Manini’s “strong points” in the campaign, but said that they still feel “very comfortable with both issues”. “The reform in education breaks traditions not only from the Front, but –and above all– Batllists”.
Once agreement was reached on the topics, the discuss where to do it. After assessing various possibilities and channels, a neutral ground was chosen: that the debate be organized by the Uruguayan Chamber of Television for Subscribers (CUTA)a wink in turn to the production and to the journalists from the interior of the country.
The meeting will be moderated by Fernando Marrero, Fernanda Perrone and Fabricio Álvarez. It can be seen through the 120 channels affiliated with CUTA, in addition to the Vera and YouTube platforms and the accounts of both senators on social networks. At the last moment and with the endorsement of the organizers, channel 5 joined the broadcast.
“We all win if the decision for the last Sunday in March is made with as much information as possible,” said Andrade after the date of the meeting was released on Tuesday. “Public debates strengthen the democratic process,” concluded the communist leader.