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Fernandez surprises Argentina by running for vice president

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Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said Saturday she will run as vice president in elections later this year, a surprise move by the firebrand former leader who had been widely expected to be the main challenger to President Mauricio Macri. reports citing Reuters.

Former cabinet chief Alberto Fernandez, a longtime operative, will take top spot on the ticket as the presidential candidate. Cristina Fernandez, a divisive figure in South America’s No. 2 economy, announced the move in a video posted on social media.

The announcement shakes up an election race many thought would be a choice between Macri’s painful market reforms and the fiery populism of Cristina Fernandez, who supported high social subsidies when she ran the country between 2007 and 2015.

“It’s not a move anyone thought would happen,” said Carlos Fara, a Buenos Aires-based political consultant, noting that Cristina Fernandez would be very influential if her running mate won the Oct. 27 election.

“Nobody will imagine they are voting for Alberto without thinking that it’s a vote for Cristina. In the eyes of the public, it will be Alberto governing, but Cristina in power.”

The move nonetheless propels Alberto Fernandez, not previously on the radar as a presidential hopeful, into an election race expected to be tightly fought between Macri and rivals lining up from among the broad Peronist opposition.

Macri is increasingly under fire amid a biting recession and inflation that has hurt the market friendly leader in the polls.

“The situation of the people and the country is dramatic, and I’m convinced this arrangement we’re proposing best reflects what is needed in Argentina at this time,” Cristina Fernandez said in a nearly 13-minute video on her official Twitter account.

2019.05.19 / 09:11
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