Fernández refuses to confirm second run during YouTube interview

“All that’s left now is for martians to land,” he said of his term beset by natural and economic disasters

President Alberto Fernández has once again refused to confirm whether he will run for re-election and repeated that his ruling Frente de Todos coalition would compete in primary elections. The comments came during a long interview with journalist Tomás Rebord on his YouTube interview show, El Método Rebord.

When asked about this year’s elections, Fernández reiterated he supports a primary election within his coalition and hopes that the FdeT will run with different candidates in the presidential primaries.

“A [primary election] is the best thing that could happen,” he said. “What’s better than seeing all of our supporters organizing?” he added. 

In a lengthy interview of over two hours, the president spoke about Argentina’s current financial and political challenges, his political career, peronism, the infighting within Frente de Todos, and his insights on the Macri government. 

“I want the Frente de Todos to win: it could be me, it could be someone else – but I want Argentina to continue to grow and to push whatever social justice policies are needed,” Fernández said. 

Argentina’s electoral calendar starts with August primaries known as the PASO (Open, Simultaneous, and Obligatory Primary Elections), which define which parties and candidates will take part in October’s general election. All coalitions that reach 1.5% of total votes are qualified to run in the following stage, and each is led by the candidate who gained the most votes.

While the opposition main coalition (Juntos por el Cambio) has already announced some significant decisions, such as that former president Mauricio Macri will not run for a second term, the FdeT coalition created by Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in 2019 has not confirmed who will compete in the primary elections. 

In the past, Alberto Fernández stated he would be willing to run again in case that benefited his party, but he didn’t confirm it yesterday during the interview, nor did he mention potential candidates within his coalition. In Argentina, it is highly unusual for a sitting president to run in primaries against members of their own coalition. 

Fernández recalled that in a march for the National Activism Day (Día de la Militancia) on November 17, 2021, he told attendees that 2023 candidates should compete in primaries. “No one can say that they’re surprised,” he said. “If I said something like that back then, it’s because I’m convinced.”

Last night, he said that his top priority is that JxC doesn’t win power again, that he wants his coalition to choose “whoever helps us to win”, and that he is confident that there are “actors that could show up in the political scenario and become candidates”. 

“These weren’t happy years,” he said, referring to his presidential mandate, during which he has faced the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges of the IMF debt deal, the consequences of Russia’s war on Ukraine, and now a punishing drought that has slashed agricultural exports and, consequently, earnings. “Had I been able to choose, I would have chosen a happier set of four years.” 

“I don’t know if I’d like to be the president for another mandate, all that’s left now is for Martians to land in Argentina,” he laughed, adding that “I want the Frente de Todos to continue in power – with whoever that is.”

-with information from Noticias Argentinas


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