Alberto Fernández, the front-runner in Argentina's presidential race, said Wednesday that his main concern looking ahead is the state of the country's economic woes, which he blamed on President Mauricio Macri.
The Frente de Todos hopeful also dismissed the worries that he would be unduly influenced by his running-mate and former boss, ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, whose administration's economic interventionist approach was criticised by some business sectors.
Fernández previously served as Cabinet chief early in her first presidential term, after initially taking the post under the administration led by her late husband, former president Néstor Kirchner.
"We worked a long time ago. I don't see a conflict there," he said. "Argentina's problem is not Cristina. It is what Macri has left behind."
Macri, who succeeded Fernández de Kirchner in 2015, promised early in his term to eradicate poverty and said his management should be evaluated on that standard. But Argentina has continued to be wracked by inflation running at an annual rate of 50 percent and a steep fall in the value of its peso. About 10 million citizens, 35.4% of the population, are poor, according to recent data from the INDEC national statistics bureau.
Anger over the economy has hurt Macri's re-election chances for the October 27 presidential vote. The 'Fernández-Fernández' slate has been considered as the clear favourite since emerging from the August 11 PASO primaries with a lead of more than 15 points.
Fernández, a lawyer, spoke briefly with The Associated Press news agency after delivering examinations to several students in a class he teaches on crime and punishment at the Faculty of Law of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA).
"Poverty has become a big problem," he said, saying he would seek to rebuild the economy by pursuing "a policy of agreements" among different economic and social sectors.