Argentina's first lady launches presidential bid

Friday, July 20, 2007

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner

Current senator and Argentine First Lady Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner announced her presidential candidacy yesterday evening in La Plata, a city 50 kilometers (31 miles) away from Buenos Aires.

Mrs. Kirchner announced her intention to run for president at the Argentine Theatre, the same location she used to start her 2005 campaign for the Senate as member of the Buenos Aires province delegation.

A large security detail was in place at the theatre and eight city blocks were closed to traffic for the event. Outgoing Argentine president Néstor Kirchner, members of his office, and provincial governors were present at the ceremony. Julio Cobos, governor of Mendoza and possible campaign team member, was also there.

Activists from Quebracho mobilized in La Plata to protest the candidacy of the First Lady, and created some disturbances near the event. None of the protesters was arrested, according to an official spokesman of La Plata Police Station.

Recent polls indicate that Mrs. Kirchner has at least 40 percent voter support, which bodes well for winning on the first ballot in the upcoming October elections.

According to Argentine newspaper La Nación, this speech signifies that the government is attempting to show solidarity in the midst of recent scandals: Felisa Miceli's resignation to the Department of Economy after being accused of wrongdoing by a justice over the nearly $100,000 Argentine pesos and US$31,670 found in her office, and the alleged smuggling of weapons and irregularities in the office of the Secretary of Environment.