BUENOS AIRES – A victory for the ruling party in October’s elections will mean that President Cristina Fernandez remains the leader of Peronism despite holding no public office after her term ends in December, the Argentine Cabinet chief said Monday.
If Peronist standard-bearer Daniel Scioli wins in October, he will be the “chief of the nation,” but Cristina Fernandez will continue “as the natural chief of the national Peronist movement,” Anibal Fernandez (no relation to the president) said at his daily press briefing.
The 60-year-old president’s decision not to run for any office has been a surprise, as much of the media speculated that she would pursue, for example, a seat in the Mercosur regional parliament to secure legislative privileges such as immunity from prosecution.
Barred by term limits from making another bid for the presidency, Cristina Fernandez has suffered from a series of health problems since the November 2010 death of Nestor Kirchner, her husband and predecessor.
Fernandez’s son, Maximo Kirchner, is seeking the Peronist nomination to run for Congress from his home province of Santa Cruz.
Cabinet chief Fernandez expressed confidence that Scioli, currently the governor of the Buenos Aires province, will win the elections in October “for logical reasons and by popular decision.”
Scioli was left as the only candidate for the ruling party’s presidential nomination after Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo abandoned his candidacy last week.
The main rivals to Scioli, who is leading in the polls, are right-wing Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri and dissident Peronist Sergio Massa.