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ARGENTINA | 26-04-2019 11:40

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's book, Sinceramente, hits the shelves

New book written by former president seen by many political analysts as a prelude to her entry into October's presidential election campaign.

Former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's new book, Sinceramente, has been released to the public – and many analysts believe it's the first step in the 66-year-old's campaign ahead of the October presidential vote.

The book, which runs to around 600 pages, went on sale at the La Rural exhibition centre on the opening day of the 45th Buenos Aires International Book Fair (more commonly known as the Feria del Libro) and at selected bookshops across the country. All other stores should be be stocking it today.

Its initial print run was said to be around 20,000, with bookstores reporting many copies had been sold on its first day. Those selling the book at the fair said it was one of the best-selling items. Local outlets reported Friday that another print run of some 40,000 had been ordered.

The new, non-fiction work, published by Sudamericana, was eagerly anticipated, with many eager to see if it would confirm whether or not she's planning another bid for the presidency. Sparking further speculation this week, the former president announced that she will present the book in person at the BA book fair on May 9.

While Fernández de Kirchner herself gives nothing away explicitly about a decision within the pages of Sinceramente, political experts said they had  no doubt as to the work's significance.

"Cristina Kirchner's book... is one step in her election campaign," said political scientist Rosendo Fraga, adding that some phrases are meant to "seduce the electorate."

In the book, the Unidad Ciudadana writes: "Today the country is in complete political, economic, social and cultural regression and I hope that, by reading these pages, we can think and discuss without hate, without lies and without grievances."

Sociologist Ricardo Rouvier said: "I think the book reaffirms what we all believe: that in the end she will be a presidential candidate. If she wasn't, I'd be very surprised."

Fernández de Kirchner doesn't miss the chance to aim a broadside at her successor and incumbent President Mauricio Macri, whose popularity has been hit by Argentina's economic woes.

"Macri is chaos, that's why I firmly believe that Argentina needs to be sorted out," says Fernández de Kirchner, who was president from 2007-2015.

Inflation has reached more than 55 percent over the last 12 months, severely denting the spending power of the population, while in March alone prices rose by 4.7 percent.

The peso lost more than 50 percent of its value against the dollar last year and Macri was forced to go to the International Monetary Fund, where he secured a US$56-billion loan.

The subsequent austerity measures he was forced to adopt, at the IMF's insistence, have been deeply unpopular in a country where so many are feeling the pinch.

Although she led the latest opinion polls with 33 percent compared to Macri's 24, Fernández de Kirchner's participation in the election is far from certain. She faces more than 10 corruption investigations related to her time in office. She will go on trial in the first of those cases on May 21, accused of diverting public funds.

"They have done so before and are continuing to do everything possible to destroy me. They think they will end up knocking me down, clearly they don't know me," the Senator for Buenos Aires Province says in her book.

'Hope of millions'

Speaking Thursday, the head of the Victory Front caucus in the lower house, Agustín Rossi, said Fernández de Kirchner's "level of prominence [is] growing," before bombastically describing her as "the hope of millions of Argentines."

"I do not know if Cristina is going to be a candidate, but today she is more than an electoral alternative, she is a reference point for the hope of millions of Argentines," Rossi told the La990 radio station. 

"Independent of her decision about her candidacy, the central role that Cristina has as a political figure is increasingly more and more."

Rossi described the national government as "trapped," saying it was gripped by a loss of confidence in economic policy and the markets.

- TIMES/AFP

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