BUENOS AIRES – Argentine Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo bowed out of the race for the ruling party’s 2015 presidential nomination, leaving Buenos Aires provincial Gov. Daniel Scioli as the only candidate.
Barred by term limits from running again, incumbent Cristina Fernandez had expressed no opinion on who should lead the party into October’s election, though she was thought to prefer Randazzo.
“Florencio has desisted from taking part as a candidate for the nation’s president,” Cabinet chief Anibal Fernandez (no relation to the president) said Thursday at his daily press conference.
The interior minister has also decided against making a bid for the Buenos Aires governorship, the Cabinet chief said.
Radio del Plata subsequently aired what it said were excerpts from an email Randazzo sent to President Fernandez. The interior ministry press secretary, Juan Manuel Belen, confirmed via Twitter that the email was genuine.
“As you asked of me, I will accompany you to the end of the administration, to continue transforming (Argentina), because my commitment to you is unbreakable,” Randazzo wrote.
His withdrawal comes just three days before the deadline to register as a candidate in the Aug. 9 presidential primaries.
Randazzo met Wednesday with President Fernandez after Scioli announced that senior presidential aide Carlos Zannini had agreed to be his vice-presidential running mate.
Though some observers speculated that Randazzo would put aside his presidential ambitions in favor of running for governor of Buenos Aires, arguably the second-most-important political office in Argentina, he rejected the idea.
“I’m a man of my word. I fervently believe in the value of that. I don’t erase with my elbow what I write with my hand. So I can’t accept being a candidate for governor,” Randazzo said in the message to Cristina Fernandez, alluding to his previous public statement that he would not run for any office but president.
Zannini has been a close collaborator of Cristina Fernandez and a leading figure in the political movement created by the president’s late husband and predecessor as head of state, Nestor Kirchner.
By allying with Zannini, Scioli appears to have shored up his identification with “Kirchnerism.”
Polls also show Scioli as the ruling party’s strongest prospective presidential candidate.
Encuesta Argentina - CEIS - June 2015 by Latin American Herald Tribune
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