Presidential hopeful Alberto Fernández called on Argentines to vote to change the country's economic course yesterday, as he closed his campaign in Rosario at a rally flanked by his running-mate Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
Fernández, who heads the opposition Frente de Todos ticket, told followers that under his leadership Argentina would leave the recession behind.
In front of a huge crowd of supporters in Rosario, Santa Fe Province, the Peronist leader pitched to voters who backed President Mauricio Macri in 2015, highlighting widespread disappointment at the economic crisis, drop in consumption and production, rising poverty, unemployment and stubbornly high inflation.
Fernández, 60, said Sunday's PASO primary vote was a choice about "what country we want to build."
"Don't ask them where they come from, ask where they want to go," he declared.
"We must unite the efforts of all Argentines, in order to be able to leave behind this horrible crisis we're living," said the Frente de Todos candidate.
"We, between those who speculate on the timba financiera and those who invest to produce in Argentina, vote for those who invest and produce. Between the entrepreneurs who create jobs and those who are buying Leliq [bonds], we vote for who creates jobs. Between those speculators and those who work, we vote for those who work. And among the retirees and the banks, we choose the retirees," said Fernández, criticising the Mauricio Macri administration.
In a nod to criticism of their ticket, Fernández de Kirchner – who addressed the crowd prior to her running-mate – sought to explain away previous tensions between the two by saying the duo had unified for "those who believe that a different Argentina is possible and necessary."
Fernández served as Cabinet chief in the government of Fernández de Kichner's late husband Néstor Kirchner, but lasted only a few months in the post when she took office. Subsequently he became a fierce critic of the Fernández de Kirchner administrations.
The former president, who served as 2007 to 2015, said their relationship had reached a "turning point" when the government "decided to borrow from the International Monetary Fund ."
In April last year, in the middle of a currency crisis, President Macri went to the IMF for a record US$56-billion credit line, agreeing to commit to a strong austerity package.
Not at bunker
Fernández de Kirchner also announced yesterday that she will not be present in the Frente de Todos bunker in the capital this Sunday, blaming a lack of flights from Santa Cruz province to Buenos Aires.
The opposition party's bunker, at the Complejo Art Media cultural centre at 6200 Av. Corrientes, is where Frente de Todos candidates will wait for results to come in.
Fernández de Kirchner said she would join Buenos Aires Province gubernational candidate Axel Kicillof's closing campaign rally in Merlo on Thursday, before flying to her home city of Río Gallegos, Santa Cruz Province, to cast her vote in the primaries. A lack of suitable options, however, means she will remain down south rather than head to the capital to learn the results of the PASOs.
Fernández's final campaign rally will take place today in Córdoba, before Friday's ban on campaigning kicks in. The presidential hopeful will not be accompanied by Fernández de Kirchner, who remains unpopular in the region.