Argentine President Alberto Fernandez says will not stand for re-election

Argentine President Alberto Fernandez says will not stand for re-election

Buenos Aires, The Gulf Observer: Argentine President Alberto Fernandez has announced that he will not stand for reelection in October’s vote — a surprise move that deepened uncertainty in the crisis-wracked country.

His centre-left Frente de Todos (Everyone’s Front) coalition has yet to put forward a candidate for August’s primaries, with Fernandez declaring in the video announcement on Friday that it needs to generate a new cycle of leaders.

“Next December 10, 2023, is the exact day on which we will mark 40 years of democracy. On this day I will hand over the presidential sash to whomever has been legitimately elected by popular vote at the polls,” Fernandez said in the clip.

Vice President Cristina Kirchner, who was Argentina’s leader from 2007-15, said at the end of last year that she would not stand in the primaries.

That announcement came shortly after the 70-year-old was convicted of fraud and corruption during her presidency — although she has been spared prison by her parliamentary immunity.

Some press reports have portrayed Economy Minister Sergio Massa, 50, as a potential candidate.

Among the opposition, former president Mauricio Macri (2015-19) has ruled himself out of the running.

Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Larreta, and Patricia Bullrich, Macri’s former security minister, have both put themselves forward for the Juntos por el Cambio (Together for Change) opposition coalition.

The news comes amid an economic crisis that has seen inflation soar to almost 22 percent in the last three months and more than 100 percent over the last year.

It also comes with the Argentine peso suffering constant depreciation against the US dollar.

Last month, Fernandez passionately defended his record over the last three years, pointing to challenges he faced such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the impact of the war in Ukraine, massive public debt and rampant inflation.

Also in March, he met with President Joe Biden at the White House, stressing his country’s willingness to cooperate with the United States in the fight against climate change, saying that Argentina was facing the worst drought in its history.

Argentines head to the polls on October 22, with a second-round runoff slated for November 19 if needed.

Primaries for both the government camp and the opposition will take place on August 13.