Photo Gallery Argentina’s Peronists seek return in polarized election

Argentina’s Peronists seek return in polarized election

Argentine President Mauricio Macri, who is running for reelection with the “Juntos Por el Cambio” party, gets a kiss from his wife Juliana Awada during his campaign rally in Cordoba, Argentina, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. Argentina will hold its presidential election on Oct. 27.
Vice presidential candidate Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, a former president and first lady, waves to supporters upon her arrival to a closing campaign rally with running mate, presidential hopeful Alberto Fernandez in Mar Del Plata, Argentina, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. Argentina will hold presidential elections on Oct. 27.

Vice presidential candidate Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner addresses supporters as presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez looks on during their closing campaign rally in Mar Del Plata, Argentina, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. Argentina will hold presidential elections on Oct. 27.
Supporters of Argentine President Mauricio Macri, who is running for reelection with the “Juntos Por el Cambio” party, holds a sign showing him as a cat, left, and his rivals as rats, during his campaign rally in Cordoba, Argentina, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. Argentina will hold its presidential election on Oct. 27.
A supporter of Argentine President Mauricio Macri, who is running for reelection with the “Juntos Por el Cambio” party, holds up a cat sign, in reference to what his detractors call him, “the cat,” during his campaign rally in Cordoba, Argentina, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. Argentina will hold its presidential election on Oct. 27.
Supporters of Argentine President Mauricio Macri, who is running for reelection with the “Juntos Por el Cambio” party, attend his campaign rally in Cordoba, Argentina, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. The sign at center right reads in Spanish “Yes we can. Kirchner-ism, never again.” Argentina will hold its presidential election on Oct. 27.
Supporters of Argentine President Mauricio Macri, who is running for reelection with the “Juntos Por el Cambio” party, display a large, cartoon-like image of former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who is running for vice president on another ticket, during Macri’s campaign rally in Cordoba, Argentina, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. Argentina will hold its presidential election on Oct. 27.

Frustration over a bruising economic crisis and rising poverty has eroded support for Argentina’s pro-business incumbent ahead of Sunday’s presidential election and boosted a populist challenger whose victory would mark a tilt to the center-left in a region rocked by political upheaval.

Polls have President Mauricio Macri trailing Peronist party candidate Alberto Fernández, whose surge has rattled financial markets and drawn attention to a possible return to high office of his vice presidential running mate – former President Cristina Fernández.

Macri took office in 2015 promising to root out corruption and eliminate poverty but is now seeking a second term amid increasing poverty, a sharp depreciation of Argentina’s peso and one of the world’s worst inflation rates.

He is shouldering most of the blame from voters for the economic woes and they made their frustration clear in primaries in August, when Macri’s share of the votes cast trailed Fernández by a nearly 16-percentage point margin. Argentina’s unique party primaries – in which all voters cast ballots – are seen as a barometer of support for candidates ahead of its presidential election.

The surprisingly poor performance by Macri caused stocks to plunge and the peso depreciated even more on the possibility of a return to the interventionist economic policies of Cristina Fernández, who governed Argentina from 2007 to 2015. Alberto Fernández was her chief of staff early in her first term. The two are not related.

In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Alberto Fernández dismissed concerns by investors and some Argentines that he would be unduly influenced by his former boss.

“I don’t see a conflict there,” he said. “Argentina’s problem is not Cristina. It’s what Macri has left behind.”

Virtually all recent polls have given Fernández more than 50% support, which would give him a first round victory without a runoff vote.

A win by the Fernández ticket would mark a shift leftward in South America, which has seen conservative governments elected in Brazil, Colombia and Chile in recent years. Cristina Fernández was seen as a member of the “pink tide” of leftist governments that arose in the region in the 1990s and 2000s. Now the region is being rocked by unrest in Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador fueled by popular discontent with the status quo.

Macri is credited with returning Argentina to global credit markets for the first time since its worst economic crisis in 2001-2002. Mariel Fornoni, director of the consultancy Management & Fit, said the president also has opened new markets for Argentina around the world, strengthened its institutions and improved security.

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