President Fernández bows out of elections: the reactions

Some members of his coalition have praised his work in office but the opposition has called his government a “failure”

Politicians from across Argentina’s political spectrum have reacted to President Alberto Fernández’s announcement this morning that he will not run for a second term in office.

While some members of his ruling coalition Frente de Todos (FdT) have praised his work in office, opposition presidential hopefuls called his government a “failure”.

In an eight-minute message titled “My Decision” published just before 10 a.m., the head of state said: “The next 10 December 2023 is the exact day our democracy turns 40. That day, I will give the presidential sash to whoever has been legitimately elected at the ballot box by popular vote.”

This story is being updated as major political figures give statements — check back for updates

Government representatives

Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero, was one of the first from the Frente de Todos ruling party to react. “Historic responsibility and commitment to the unity of Peronism. Alberto Fernandez puts the Nation first and promotes a new logic for this time. The leadership of the future must be defined in the ballots to consolidate a path that will engage the will of the people at every step.” he tweeted

Economy Minister Sergio Massa said in a tweet that “Alberto Fernández’s decision shows his generosity and leaves a mark towards the future. Responsibility and unity are the way.” 

Argentine Ambassador to Brazil Daniel Scioli, a presidential hopeful himself, praised the president, highlighting “his generosity, the times he had to govern with all the adversities he had to face” and praising his courage. “He had to deal with unforeseeable events, and he always gave us a profound sense of responsibility. It’s time we commit to unity,” he added and stressed the importance of the primaries (PASO) to determine the coalition’s candidate. “I believe the PASO will revitalize our coalition,” he said, adding: “Here I am, you can count on me.”

Security Minister Aníbal Fernández said in an interview with Futurock radio that “when the hard times came, the president shouldered the burden without complaint. And now look at the polls, they’re not looking good, but he kept taking charge of the problems because it was a way of improving the survey results, and taking decisions that improve the situation. The president has done what needed to be done and he’s ready, since he himself is not going to compete, to guarantee that the law on primary elections is complied with, that people compete in them, and that the person who triumphs can compete for the presidency and win.”

Juan Grabois, leader of the Movimiento de Trabajadores Excluidos (MTE) and the Patria Grande Front who also stated his will to run for president, tweeted that Fernandez’s decision “is very important. A contribution to unity. I thank him as an Argentine and activist of the Frente de Todos (FdT), he tweeted. “I reconfirm my presidential candidacy and I hope we can build civilized primaries based on proposals and projects for the country,” he added. 

Buenos Aires province Security Minister Sergio Berni: “The Frente de Todos placed all of their trust in someone who sadly was unable to face the circumstances”. 

FdT Deputy for Buenos Aires City, Eduardo Valdes spoke to C5N and said: “I really want to acknowledge his message, which relates to the unity of the Frente de Todos. All of us are essential to achieve victory. We need to be generous to find the best way to define our candidates. Unity must be considered above all things.”

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Opposition politicians

Horacio Rodríguez Larreta (Juntos por el Cambio), Buenos Aires mayor and presidential candidate, slammed the decision as ”yet another sample of the failure of this government.” Addressing journalists in Rosario, he said: “This president failed, Vice President Cristina Kirchner failed, her team failed. Inflation over 100%, poverty over 40%, [over] 50% for the youngest, a country without bank reserves and they are unable to tackle crime,” he added. “We cannot be any worse off than we already are.” 

Gerardo Morales (Juntos por el Cambio), governor of Jujuy and presidential candidate for Juntos por el Cambio, tweeted: “The government cannot reverse this social and economic chaos with any candidate. Their legacy is more backlog, more debt, more inflation, more poverty. They do not have the leadership or the character to govern. It would be irresponsible for them to pretend they can keep running the country to ruin.”

Myriam Bregman, Leftist and Workers’ Front deputy, and presidential candidate tweeted that Fernández “is resigning his potential candidacy after governing for four years with a coalition that made the rich richer and the working poor poorer.” 

Governors (FdT and allies)

Raul Jalil, governor of Catamarca (Frente de Todos): “I support president Alberto Fernández’s decision. He has had to govern in extremely hard times, constantly helping all the Catamarca people”, he tweeted. 

Gerardo Zamora, governor of Santiago del Estero (Frente Cívico) said: “I support our president’s decision, and I acknowledge and value the fact that he was always there, listening and helping the people of Santiago del Estero in these difficult and hard times he had to govern through.”

Gustavo Melella, governor of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica, and South Atlantic Islands (Frente de Todos), highlighted the president’s attitude and said he will maintain his commitment to “keep working to consolidate a federal perspective and public policies that guarantee rights and inclusion”. “Undoubtedly, he had to govern in very difficult, complex times, like everything we went through in the pandemic, which branded us as a society,” he tweeted.  

Gustavo Bordet, Entre Ríos governor (Frente de Todos), tweeted “Once again, Alberto shows his commitment to the country and democracy by prioritizing collective interests over personal aspirations. All my recognition to him and my commitment to keep working together for Argentina.”

Ricardo Quintela, governor of La Rioja (Frente de Todos), spoke directly to the president through his Twitter account: “Alberto, we know that regardless of which position you do it from, we know you will continue to work for a fair, dignified and federal nation for all Argentines”.

Jorge Capitanich, Chaco governor and a potential candidate for Frente de Todos: “He must certainly be part as a political leader to create the conditions to achieve the greatest possible consensus, the unity within the diversity of our coalition, a political-electoral strategy that guarantees a program agreement from a political, economic and social perspective,” he said during a rally in the Cacho town of Sáenz Peña. “There is no doubt that we will have an electoral win that will allow us to guarantee a new opportunity to keep deciding on the fate of our nation, but mostly on the challenges to satisfy the people’s needs”.

Omar Perotti, Santa Fe governor (Partido Justicialista–Frente Juntos), gave a press conference in the province’s capital. “I believe that every time you get to pay more attention to critical situations instead of having your head all over the place is definitely helpful.” 

“I wish this decision provides strength during a difficult time for Argentina when we need a lot of unity in every chance of international negotiation that allows us to improve the terms in the relations with Argentina,” he added. 


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