There are fourteen official teams of presidential and vice presidential candidates running for the leadership of Argentina. Each of them running as the candidate of a different party, some of them in fact for more than one party. The cool thing here is if you run for office you start your own political party. I think I will call myself the Alianza para mas fiestas con helado. (Party for more Parties with ice cream)
The election on October 28th is the first stage. Assuming that none of the candidates garners 45% of the votes or 40% with a 10% difference between the nearest rival, there will be a run off. The polling that has been published in the last weeks has indicated that Christina Fernandez de Kirchner could win the 40% with the rest of the field sharing the remaining votes in small pieces. In reality, its seems as if only one candidate is really in play, but I will profile 4 of the candidates.
This is in all likelihood the next president of Argentina: Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. She is currently a Buenos Aires Province senator and is the presidential candidate representing the Alianza Frente para la Victoria Party, which is one of the many splinter Peronist groups. She is wife of the President, Nestor Kirchner. Word has it she is the brains and money behind the pair. While she is affectionately called the Pinguina, (female penguin, Nestor is penguino, their home is the Patagonian province Santa Cruz) her combative style is much more bulldog and her speaking style is evocative of Eva Peron. I get the sense that most people don’t think she is any worse or better than her husband and take solace that she is a known quantity..a mediocre one at that. It is believed that her policy will be similar to her husband’s. Supportive of unions, price fixing, import tariffs and building relationships with sympathetic Latin neighbors (Morales and Chavez specifically). She does seem more comfortable on the world stage than her husband ever was and was just in the US and Europe looking for foreign investors. She may be the first President of a country that appears to have had extensive plastic surgery. (if you don’t include Carlos Menem).
If I could vote in this election, which I cant, my candidate would be Elisa Carrio. She has balls. She is what you would describe as an extremely outspoken woman. She does not mince words when it comes to talking about the Kirchners, corruption, poverty and any other uncomfortable subject that needs to be discussed. If you look at her biography she has belonged to a million different political parties all in the center left part of the spectrum. She is currently running for president under the banner of the Confederacion Coalicion Civica. Inflation has been in the news here lately, more specifically the difference in what people seem to be experiencing and what is being reported by the official index. She has taken the Kirchners to task on this repeatedly and it has seems to have resonated with some voters. In the published polls she is running second to Christina with 15% of the votes to Cristina’s nearly 40%. She is aggressively going after the undecided that want an alternative to the Kirchners, hoping to ensure a run off. She is the anti-Christina when it comes to style. Elisa is a larger than average women for here in Argentina and chooses not to devote as much time to her clothes, makeup and hair as Cristina who is much more typically Argentine in presentation. I get the sense she really doesn’t give a shit and she has said as much. Ironically, in her teen years spent in the northern province of Chaco, Elisa was a beauty queen.
Every Argentine presidential election needs a hapless economist. In 2003 it was Ricardo Lopez Murphy who attempted to inject some measured reason into the dialog. This election it is Roberto Lavagna, of the Alianza Concertacion Una . Lavagna was Kirchner’s very own Economic Minster who unceremoniously left office in 2005. Lavagna was in fact appointed to the Economic Ministry during the interim rule of Eduardo Duhalde in 2002 and was a major player in dealing with the liquidity crisis and renegotiating the defaulted bond payments.(to .25 on the $=/-). Things got tense between Lavagna and Nestor Kirchner when inflation began to rear its ugly head. Along with the disagreement on how to deal with an inflation problem Lavagna acknowledged, he was unwilling to let his opinions about corruption in other ministries remain voiceless. He was replaced by Felisa Miceli, a banker and student of Lavanga. Miceli will forever be remembered for not knowing how the equivalent of $60,000USD got into the tank of her personal toilet in her office. When pressed she said it was her brother’s and when some of the money was pesos in a sealed bag of the Central Bank she broke down and cried like a baby. Busted!! This episode unfortunately for Lavagna is the most memorable thing about him.
This is Jorge Omar Sobisch. This is not a current photo but its great huh?? You got to love the mutton chops. This was probably from when he was part of the Menem posse. He is currently the Governor of the oil rich province Neuquen where he was raised by his Peronist father and later as an adult founded with his dad the Neuquino People’s Movement. Sobisch is running as the candidate of the El Moviemento de las Provincias Unidas(another of one of the many Peronist parties, this center/right) whose tenant is for all the provinces peoples and economies to have a voice, not just the province of Buenos Aires. The Federalist(centered around BA)-Provincial Rights argument is one for the ages here in Argentina. He is a strong character and often at odds with the Kirchners. Last April there was an incident in Neuquen where a young teacher was killed by an ex-police officer during teacher union demonstrations. Accusations flew between the Sobisch and the Kirchners, both accusing each other of direct responsibility and conspiring to sabotage each others campaign. With most of his support in the provinces, Sobisch trails both Carrio and Lavagna who trail Fernandez de Kirchner who is registering almost 40% of the vote in the latest polls.