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ARGENTINA | 07-12-2023 09:22

Alberto and Cristina, in typical style, bid farewell to government separately

At odds with each other for much of the four years they’ve spent in office, President Alberto Fernández and Vice-President Fernández de Kirchner thanked their co-workers for their efforts separately.

Appropriately enough, President Alberto Fernandez and Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner bid farewell to government this week prior to Sunday’s inauguration of Javier Milei as head of state.

At odds with each other for much of the four years they’ve spent in office as a presidential duo, the Peronist leaders thanked their collaborators with separate events and messages.

"I leave behind a functioning country," Fernandez said on Wednesday, speaking at a toast with employees on his last day of official business at the official Casa Rosada residence before travelling to a Mercosur summit in Brazil. 

"I leave with the peace of mind that I put in everything to help over this time,," added the president, who was anointed in 2019 by Fernández de Kirchner to head a united Peronist ticket. 

The duo won in the first round of the presidential ballot with 48.2 percent of the vote, but have faced a multitude of problems and have overseen a dramatic economic decline.

In his remarks, Fernández expressed his "enormous regret for not having been able to solve the problem of poverty," which now affects more than 40 percent of the population according to official data. Private estimates put the figure higher. 

In a series of interviews following Milei's election in the November run-off, Fernández has publicly aired some of his long-standing disagreements with Fernández de Kirchner.

"She has a way of doing politics that I don't like, which has to do with that personalistic way of doing politics. But I respect her," he said in a recent interview.

Fernández de Kirchner, who served as president from 2007 to 2015, said her own goodbye to workers at the Senate on Tuesday. She heads the upper chamber as vice-president, and hinted that she will continue to be involved in politics. She did not mention Fernández.

"I'm not going anywhere. You know where to find me," said the vice-president, who has been openly critical of Fernández for the last two years at least.

"I'm going to be here, two blocks away at the" Instituto Patria, a research centre of the Kirchnerite faction that answers to her, she added.

Later,  on her TikTok account, she shared a post indicating that she had left a photograph of herself and Diego Maradona hanging in her office. "How young we were. Poor Diego. Eternal," she said.

From December 10, her Senate office will be occupied by another female vice-president, Victoria Villarruel, the former La Libertad Avanza lawmaker who seconded Milei’s ticket. 

Fernández de Kirchner, 70, faces a series of court cases, mostly focused on graft and money-laundering investigations. She was sentenced in December 2022 to six years in prison for corruption, a sentence she has appealed and has not been confirmed.

Both Fernández and Fernández de Kirchner were mostly absent from this year’s election campaign, unsurprisingly given the administration’s poor approval ratings. Economy Minister Sergio Massa, running for the ruling coalition against Milei, failed to convince an electorate suffering from 140 percent inflation to give the government another chance.

 

  • TIMES/AFP

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