BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Just three hours before the deadline for registering candidacies, Argentina’s former President Nestor Kirchner announced that he had decided to stand for Congress in the 28 June election. He hopes to build support for the government and ensure that his wife, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, has a working majority in Congress.
Kirchner’s candidacy for the ruling Justicialist Front for Victory is a clear sign, according to AFP, that the upcoming elections, in which 329 congressional seats are at stake, will be a vote of confidence that could decide the future of the Fernandez government.
According to EFE, the popular governor of Buenos Aires Province Daniel Sciloi and Cabinet Chief Sergio Massa announced they too will stand in a gesture of token support for Kirchner’s candidacy. It is token support because they will not resign from their present jobs after the election and will not take their seats if they win.
La Voz reported that the two main opposition groups – the Union-PRO alliance of conservatives and dissident Peronists and the Civic and Social Accord, an alliance between the Radical Civic Union and the Civic Coalition – described these candidacies as shams and fraudulent to the electors and have challenged them in the electoral court.
There is also controversy because the candidates were chosen without primary elections, although primaries are a legal requirement. Delia Ferreira Rubio, who heads the NGO Citizen Power, told Clarín that “the primaries are to prevent a group of leaders or a single leader from deciding the choice that the party will put before the voters”.
According to La Nación, rural leader Alfredo de Angeli urged people to vote against the Kirchners. “All we are going to say is who not to vote for and that’s Kirchnerism,” said de Angeli, “Their national congressmen don’t represent us. The President of the Argentine Agricultural Federation Eduardo Burzzi, another rural leader, said, “I’m sorry I supported Kirchner”.
Some political analysts are forecasting that the government will win the vital province of Buenos Aires. Julio Aurelio, head of the consulting company Julio Aurelio S.A., told La Nación that “the results are going to vary a lot depending on the area. Even if most of the province’s areas voted against the government, they would still win because 60 percent of the electors live in urban areas”.