Brazil’s election is undoubtedly the most important in the region this year, but 2023 will see the focus shift to Argentina, where the right could return to power as President Alberto Fernández’s government struggles with high inflation and low approval ratings.
This week brought some news on the matter, as people close to the two most polarizing political figures in the country, Vice President Cristina Kirchner and former President Mauricio Macri, signaled they might not take part in next year’s race.
Lawmaker Máximo Kirchner, the Vice President’s son, said this week that “I don’t think Cristina will be a candidate,” arguing that “she has made a tremendous effort, and a presidency can wear a person out.”
Ms. Kirchner was president twice between 2007 and 2015, and remains the most popular figure in the country’s ruling Peronist coalition, but is also strongly disliked by most voters outside of it, making her uncompetitive in a runoff.
Last month, a group of right-wing extremists tried to assassinate her outside of her Buenos Aires city apartment, while she is also battling corruption cases in court.
Economy Minister Sergio Massa is seen as another possibility, but he says his family is making him consider retirement, which would leave a clear path for President Fernández to attempt re-election despite his low popularity figures.
Meanwhile, Buenos Aires politician Jorge Macri praised his cousin Mauricio’s 2015-2019 presidency, but said he does “not see him as a candidate now, but more like a mentor,” while adding that it was still too early to make definite statements on the matter.
Mr. Macri stepping aside would leave the door open to centrist Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and right-winger Patricia Bullrich fighting out the opposition primaries, with the possibility of an outsider like Javier Milei from the far-right challenging both of them as well.