Argentina finalises presidential candidates ahead of October elections

Argentina’s presidential hopefuls have until today to announce their candidacy ahead of the October 27 election. Argentinian President Mauricio Macri

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Photo: Reuters

Argentina’s presidential hopefuls have until today to announce their candidacy ahead of the October 27 election.

Argentinian President Mauricio Macri is facing a stiff challenge from Alberto Fernandez, who has chosen former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner as his vice-presidential nominee.

Macri’s popularity has waned amid economic challenges. Argentina’s trade deficit to GDP was 4.8% in 2018, and its economy is forecasted to contract by 1.8% in 2019 as inflation skyrockets. Macri’s cuts to utility subsidies saw consumer prices double over the past three years and millions of Argentinians plunder into poverty as unemployment increased to 9.1% in the fourth quarter of 2018, up from 7.2% at the same time in 2017.

A victory for Fernandez would likely see the return of economic policies reminiscent of de Kirchner’s tariffs, protectionism and generous government spending.

A Fernandez presidency is unlikely to be favourable for foreign investors, who would rather see the pro-business Macri maintain the office. Ultimately, the race could be decided by whoever the current third-place candidate, centrist Roberto Lavagne — who, according to polls, could substantially challenge either front-runner in a runoff, though he is unlikely to get there — chooses to back.

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