Vice president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner will deliver a speech today at 4 p.m. in Plaza de Mayo, a landmark site in Argentina’s political history. The event will be held in honor of the 20th anniversary of former president Néstor Kirchner’s inauguration in 2003. Political representatives of all sectors of the ruling coalition Frente de Todos (FdT) are expected to attend.
President Alberto Fernández, who is estranged from Kirchner, will not attend, while Economy Minister and potential candidate Sergio Tomás Massa will.
Her speech will be closely watched by all political actors in Argentina, especially what she might say regarding who could be the FdT candidate in the upcoming elections.
The gathering coincides with a new anniversary of the May Revolution, May 25, when the first national government was established in 1810 after the removal of the Spanish viceroy. It will also take place just a month before the deadline parties and coalitions have to present their list of candidates – scheduled for June 24.
“I’ll see you all on Thursday in Plaza de Mayo,” she tweeted on Monday.
In spite of rain forecasts, thousands are expected to attend Plaza de Mayo and its surrounding area.
Earlier this month, Cristina Kirchner published an open letter confirming she will not run for the presidency or any other office in this year’s elections. “In light of this situation, it is essential -more than ever- to build a government program that will enamor Argentines again and convince them a better country is not only possible but also desirable. A government program that is necessary not only for Peronism, but for the democratic system as a whole,” said the letter.
Although there are several presidential hopefuls within her coalition (including Ambassador to Brazil Daniel Scioli, Chief of Staff Agustín Rossi and social leader Juan Grabois), it is still unclear whether FdT will hold a primary election or if it will appoint an only candidate for the elections, which will take place October 22.
Many expect Kirchner to hint who she will support now that she won’t be a candidate herself, but sources close to the event’s organization told the Herald she would not endorse anyone specifically.
Despite being distanced from Cristina Kircher for the better part of the last two years, President Alberto Fernández also called on FdT supporters to go to the Plaza: “25/5/2003 changed history. Néstor Kirchner’s arrival started a path of moral reparation, social justice and human rights. On the 20th anniversary, I call on everyone to pay homage to him in Plaza de Mayo and to listen to his life partner Cristina Kirchner. Néstor unites us,” he tweeted.
Télam reported that Kirchner sent out 300 special invitations for today’s event to governors, legislators, and mayors, as well as representatives of political and social movements and leaders of human rights organizations.
Workers began building the stage yesterday around noon. It will be located in the Plaza de Mayo, between the May Pyramid and the Manuel Belgrano Monument, with its back to the Government House.
The tribune from which Kirchner will speak is about 3 meters above ground level and more than 15 meters long, with two giant screens above it, one on each side.
Because of the rain, the stage has a 20 meter roof. Security fences have been placed around the perimeter, forming a 30 meter-diameter ring that only the organizers and special guests will have access to.
Electrical generators, dressing rooms and two tents over 25 meters long set up to welcome guests were placed near the intersection of Balcarce and Hipólito Yrigoyen.
At the other end of the Plaza, three screens and sound towers were placed facing Avenida de Mayo, Diagonal Julio A. Roca and Diagonal Roque Sáenz Peña.
All public transportation will function normally with a public holiday schedule. Traffic will be shut down between Avenida Corrientes, Avenida Leandro N. Alem, Avenida La Rábida (located behind the Government House) – Avenida Paseo Colón, Avenida Independencia, and Avenida Entre Ríos – Avenida Callao.