Cristina Fernandez seeks to unify Peronists for Argentine elections

By Javier Castro Bugarin

Buenos Aires, May 25 (EFE).- Vice President Cristina Fernandez offered a passionate argument Thursday for the program the governing Peronists will offer Argentines in the October general elections, though she gave no indication of who she favors as the party’s standard-bearer in the presidential contest.

The former two-term president addressed thousands of people gathered in Buenos Aires’ Plaza de Mayo to mark 213 years since the May Revolution that led ultimately to Argentina’s independence.

The rally also coincided with the 20th anniversary of the inauguration of Fernandez’s late husband, Nestor Kirchner, as president.

A week after reaffirming that she will not be a candidate for any office in this year’s election, the 70-year-old Fernandez said that the Argentine economy needs to make a “qualitative leap” through an alliance of the public and private sectors “to add value and incorporate technology.”

“When one looks at the principal economies that have emerged, they are far from the doctrine that they want to impose on us here, that the market and the private sector solves everything,” she said.

“This is the debate that millions of Argentines are waiting to hear, and not the bullsh-t spewed every day in the communications media,” the vice president said to cheers and applause.

She went on to set out some of the main elements of the Peronist program, such as renegotiating the repayment of more than $40 billion borrowed from the International Monetary Pact (IMF) by the previous right-wing government, developing Argentina’s strategic resources, and overhauling the Supreme Court.

Fernandez, convicted last December in a corruption case based on events during her 2007-2015 tenure as president, has denounced the prosecution as “lawfare” and pointed to the fraternization of senior prosecutors and judges with the political opposition.

Besides a jail term – which would be commuted to house arrest due to her age – the conviction carries a lifetime ban on her holding public office.

Though she is appealing the conviction, Fernandez announced the same day the verdict was handed down that she would not take part in the 2023 elections.

Fernandez urged Peronists to focus on building power across Argentina’s 23 provinces and all sectors of the economy to help the government address the country’s main problem: the inequitable distribution of income.

“Believe me, to distribute income it is often necessary to turn a harsh face toward those who have much. Why do you think they hate me, they persecute me, and they proscribe me? Because I was never one of them and I’m never going to be,” she said.

While Fernandez was accompanied at the rally by likely contenders such as Interior Minister Wado de Pedro, Buenos Aires provincial Gov. Axel Kicillof, and Economy Minister Sergio Massa, she did not endorse a candidate for the Peronist presidential nomination.



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