1682099085 Argentinas President Alberto Fernandez has announced that he will not

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez has announced that he will not stand for re election in October

Argentine President Alberto Fernandez on July 22, 2022 in Buenos Aires. Argentine President Alberto Fernandez in Buenos Aires on July 22, 2022. LUIS ROBAYO / AFP

Argentina’s President since 2019, Alberto Fernandez (centre left), announced on Friday (April 21) that he will not stand for re-election in October’s parliamentary elections. This decision further opens up the field of an already uncertain choice. On December 10, the end of the president’s term of office, the 64-year-old head of state will “give the sash of the president to whoever has been legitimately elected,” he announced in a video.

Alberto Fernandez had previously questioned his participation in the government camp primaries in August. And its surprise announcement comes in a particularly feverish economic context, with runaway inflation at 21.7% over three months and 104.3% year-on-year, down from 94.8% in 2022.

It also marks a week of mounting pressure on Argentina’s currency, the peso, which is steadily depreciating against the dollar. The peso was trading at 225 to the dollar at the official rate but at 432 to the dollar at the informal rate on Wednesday.

Last month, in his last general political speech in Parliament, Alberto Fernandez defended his three-year presidency in a hostile context marked by Covid, the impact of the war in Ukraine, Argentina’s debt and chronic inflation. But with two consecutive years of growth (10.3% in 2021, 5.4% in 2022), unprecedented in Argentina in 12 years.

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Clear the way for two of the main figures in the opposition coalition

His withdrawal leaves a particularly uncertain electoral field, with no obvious candidate emerging in the ruling coalition camp (centre-left). Vice President Cristina Kirchner, head of state from 2007 to 2015 and heir to the Peronist current, announced at the end of 2022 that shortly after her conviction in a trial for fraud and corruption during her presidential mandates she would not stand.

Minister of Economy since last July, Sergio Massa, 50, himself a former presidential candidate (2015), has been presented several times in the press as a possible candidate, although this hypothesis is closely linked to economic stabilization. In the opposition, the previous president (from 2015 to 2019), the Liberal Mauricio Macri, announced in March that he would not run for the presidency after long raising doubts.

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This step aside opened the way for two of the main figures of the opposition coalition Juntos por el Cambio to declare their pre-candidate: Horacio Larreta, 57, mayor (centre right) of Buenos Aires since 2015, and Patricia Bullrich, 66, the right-handed ex-security minister the Macri government.

Argentina’s general elections will be held on October 22nd, with a possible runoff on November 19th. The primary elections, both in the government camp and in the opposition, are scheduled for August 13.

The world with AFP