The race for the Casa Rosada took an unexpected turn on Saturday with the announcement that former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner will accompany Alberto Fernández as his running mate for the presidency, rather than head her own ticket.
Fernández delivered his first public statements as a presidential hopeful on Sunday, in which he addressed Argentina's massive US$57-billion stand-by loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
"I'm not afraid of the IMF. We've already negotiated with the Fund," Fernández told the A24 news network outside his home in the Puerto Madero neighbourhood, which is walking distance from the Government House.
Fernández was the Cabinet chief of both Néstor Kirchner and of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner during part of her first presidency. He was the longest serving Cabinet Chief in Argentine history, remaining in the role from 2003 to 2008.
"We have to find a way to address Argentina's commitments with the world. We have to comply with them without that meaning more pain for Argentines," he said.
He also spoke about his running mate's legal woes, with the first of a series of trials against Cristina Fernández de Kirchner scheduled to begin on Tuesday. The so-called "Vialidad" trial will address allegations she took bribes from construction firms that had received contracts for road works projects.
"The case is a judicial scandal. It's a battering. People realise now that Cristina is a victim of this judicial system," he claimed.
In an exclusive interview given to the Página/12 newspaper, published Sunday, he said he was "surprised" at first to learn that Fernández de Kirchner wanted to accompany him as his running mate.
"She had everything in her favour to reach the presidency and compete. It was surprising because I did not expect it. But it speaks well of Cristina", he said.
Fernández fell out with Fernández de Kirchner in 2008 as her government began a heated battle with the agricultural sector over export tariffs.
"When I had my differences with Cristina, I left. When I had to criticise her, I did. And when I had to reunited with her, we reunited", he said.
Fernández said he was working toward "uniting Peronism" prior to his electoral alliance with Fernández de Kirchner who considered him the ideal person "to lead the next four years for Argentina".
"I'm extremely happy that Cristina is part of this ticket", he said.
"To have Cristina accompanying me, it gives me a lot of strength", he concluded.