This weekend, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner shocked political analysts when she unexpectedly announced that she would enter the 2019 presidential election as Alberto Fernández’s running mate. Together, they will face off against President Mauricio Macri and Vice President Gabriela Michetti. The two current leaders are being scrutinized as Argentina’s economy has dipped to its lowest point since the 2001 financial crisis, which saw the urban poverty rate rise to 57.5 percent.
Kirchner, who is currently an Argentine Senator for Buenos Aires Province, made history in 2007 as the first woman elected as President of Argentina. After a successful first term, she was elected again, winning by more than 8,000,000 votes. Due to term limits, she could not run for a third term in the 2015 election, which saw Macri get elected for his first term as president.
Since Argentina’s term limits are for 2 consecutive terms, CFK became eligible as a candidate for president in 2019 after spending a full four-year term away from the Casa Rosada. In the polls, Senator Kirchner was the only candidate who was consistently outpolling President Macri. Then, earlier this month she released her memoir, Sinceramente, which was believed by many to be the signal for another campaign. Due to this and several social media hints by CFK herself, many political analysts firmly predicted that she would make her third bid for President of Argentina.
Despite this, through an announcement that she wrote on her website, CFK stated that she will be running for Vice President while Alberto Fernández will make his first presidential bid. Fernández previously served Argentina as Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers during Néstor Kirchner’s presidency, and continued to serve in that position for the first 8 months of CFK’s presidency. The announcement was especially surprising because analysts had never considered CFK as a vice presidential candidate, suspecting that in contrast Fernández was on Kirchner’s VP shortlist. If the campaign prevails, CFK will be the first Argentine president to return to government as vice president.
The Fernández-Kirchner ticket is suspected to appeal to moderate voters who gravitated toward Macri in the 2015 election. The decision is also thought to be strategic, as Senator Kirchner is currently being tried for accusations of corruption that are connected with her former presidency. As such, taking a role with less responsibility is likely to help prevent the campaign from being hindered by scandal.
The 2019 Argentine general election will take place on October 27, 2019.
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