Which Fernandez Will Be Left Standing in Argentina?

Which Fernandez Will Be Left Standing in Argentina?
Argentine President-elect Alberto Fernandez waves to supporters, standing in front of an image of his running-mate, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, on Election Day in Buenos Aires, Oct. 27, 2019 (AP photo by Daniel Jayo).

There were no surprises in Argentina’s presidential election on Oct. 27, when leftist candidate Alberto Fernandez, with former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner as his running mate, defeated the center-right incumbent Mauricio Macri. That outcome had been anticipated by primary elections—essentially a preview of the vote—held in August, when the Fernandez-Fernandez ticket trounced Macri as Argentina’s economy continued to deteriorate. The new administration will take office on Dec. 10.

For Cristina Fernandez, this is all personal vindication. When her presidency ended in 2015, she left behind economic stagnation and a trail of corruption allegations. She attempted a political comeback in the 2017 legislative elections, when she won a Senate seat herself, but her party was soundly defeated by Macri’s coalition. Although she had immunity from the various corruption charges as a member of the Senate, her political career seemed to be nearing its end.

But then, last spring, she made an unexpected and bold move for reconciliation with Alberto Fernandez, a onetime political ally who had served as chief of staff to her late husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, and held the same position briefly during her own presidency. Alberto Fernandez later broke with Cristina, criticizing her administration publicly. In May, in order to seize on Macri’s sinking popularity and reunite the fractured Justicialist Party, she decided not to run for the presidency herself but instead anoint the more moderate Fernandez as the Peronists’ candidate—with her as vice president.

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