Putting an end to speculation about her immediate political future, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner confirmed in an open letter on Tuesday that she will not be a candidate in the October elections.
Argentina’s vice-president said in a lengthy missive published on her personal website that she will not stand as a candidate and would “give priority to the collective project over my personal position.”
Lashing out at her political rivals, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Argentina’s Judiciary, among other targets, in a near 1,700-word text, the 70-year-old claimed that any run for office would be blocked by the courts in what she described as “a perverse game.”
Fernández de Kirchner went on to allege that the courts are beholden to the opposition Juntos por el Cambio coalition and “concentrated economic groups” that seek to eliminate their “political adversaries,” namely hersefl.
"I already said it on December 6, 2022. I will not be a mascot of power for any candidacy,” wrote the former president, referencing remarks she delivered last year after she was found guilty of alleged corruption related to public works projects dating back to her time as head of state.
The conviction, which came with a six-year jail term and a lifetime ban on holding political office, has not yet been confirmed by a higher court.
“I have shown, like nobody else, that I give priority to the collective project over my personal position,” declared Fernández de Kirchner, who served two terms as head of state from 2007 to 2015.
Fernández de Kirchner’s decision comes in the wake of repeated calls from her political backers and supporters, calling on her to launch another presidential bid. Kirchnerite organisers called for a major rally in Buenos Aires for May 25, marking the 20th anniversary of her late husband Néstor Kirchner’s inauguration as president.
“I am not going to enter into the perverse game being imposed on us with a democratic façade,” she declared.
In her letter, the Senate chief decried the alleged “verbal and symbolic violence which for years has been implanted in society by the hegemonic media.”
She said that abuse had resulted in a series of violent incidents, most notably the failed assassination attempt against her life last September.
"The culmination of this action took place on September 1, 2022, in front of my private home when accompanied by God and the Virgin and surrounded by comrades, they made an attempt on my life,” she wrote.
“Strikingly, after the thwarted assassination, those groups which organised and weekly criticised, criticised and threatened me, disappeared as if by magic. This undoubtedly confirms the premeditated and unspontaneous nature of the political violence of these groups,” said the vice-president.
“They were fomented and financed by the opposition, and the hegemonic media guaranteed them wide media coverage,” she declared.
"The aim of these groups was absolutely targeted. It was not against all political parties or all leaders, as in the 2001 crisis. It was against Peronism or Kirchnerism, whichever way you like it," said Fernández de Kirchner, who claims she is a victim of political and judicial persecution.
Referencing the six-year prison sentence against her and her lifetime disqualification from holding public office, she said that "it has only one political and electoral translation: proscription.”
"As I have been saying for a long time, this is not just about the proscription of a person, but of Peronism,” she said.
Fernández de Kirchner began her letter by speaking of “democratic dissatisfaction,” which she said was linked to Argentina’s “loss of economic democracy” in 2016 under the opposition Cambiemos government led by former president Mauricio Macri.
The “brutal new cycle of external indebtedness” introduced by Macri’s administration led to the return of the IMF through “an unusual, unprecedented and political loan,” she wrote, referencing the record US$57-billion credit-line secured in 2018.
Underlining her disquiet with the multilateral lender, Fernández de Kirchner lashed out at the IMF, blaming it for Argentina’s runaway inflation. The country, which is in the grip of another round of economic and financial turbulence, has seen consumer prices soar by more than 108 percent over the last 12 months.
“The story is the same as always with the Fund in our country: it intervenes, takes the helm of the Argentine economy, imposes its economic programme and once again the inflationary process in Argentina spirals out of control,” wrote the former president, who went on to criticise Macri and her supposed partner, President Alberto Fernández.
“It is no coincidence that neither of the two presidents who accepted the IMF programme can run for election,” she concluded.
Another key target of Fernández de Kircher’s complaints was Argentina’s judiciary, who she claimed are out to ban both Kirchnerism and Peronism. The former president accused the Supreme Court of acting as “a task force for Juntos por el Cambio and concentrated economic groups.”
Citing a recent and controversial court ruling to suspend gubernatorial elections in San Juan and Tucumán, the leader said such actions were proof that the Supreme Court’s justices would “issue a ruling disqualifying me or directly removing me from any candidacy I might have” even if she did run for the nation’s highest office.
“This was not a hasty or spur-of-the-moment decision, but a reasoned and thought-out decision. I know them, I know how they think, how they act and how they will act,” declared the vice-president.
They “will not be able to put an end to the memory and dreams of millions of Argentines to live in a free nation, whose people progress in order and are happy,” she concluded.