Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner slammed President Alberto Fernández in an open letter on Thursday, heightening the extraordinary political crisis that has gripped the ruling Frente de Todos coalition since it suffered a heavy defeat in last Sunday's PASO primaries.
Fernández de Kirchner, the powerful veep who governed Argentina from 2007 to 2015, published a letter blaming the president for a “political catastrophe” she says was caused by his government's economic strategy. Their coalition’s loss in the September 12 primary vote was largely due to the government’s mistaken policy of fiscal austerity, she argued, while calling for an overhaul of Fernández's Cabinet.
"Do you seriously believe that it is not necessary, after such a defeat, to publicly present the resignations and that those in charge facilitate the president to reorganise his government?" the vice-president wrote in the letter, referring to a string of resignation offers from government officials who respond to her.
In meetings with the president ahead of the vote, Fernández de Kirchner said she repeatedly warned against spending cuts “that were negatively impacting economic activity and society, and which would undoubtedly have electoral consequences.”
“I didn’t just tell him once, I got tired of saying it – and not just to the president,” she wrote. “The answer was always that it wasn’t like that, that I was mistaken and that, according to the polls, we were going to do ‘very well’ in the election.”
Argentina's veep chose Alberto Fernández – who served as Cabinet chief to her late husband former president Néstor Kirchner – to lead the Frente de Todos coalition ticket for the 2019 presidential vote.
The letter – posted on social networks with the message 'Como siempre… sinceramente' – blows open the political divide between Fernández de Kirchner and her radical Peronist officials and Fernández’s more moderate Cabinet members just two months before the final midterm vote on November 14.
The presidency’s press office declined to comment.
Fernández called Thursday for his government to put aside "differences."
"This is not the time to raise disputes that distract us from this path," the Peronist leader wrote on Twitter. "Governance will continue as I intend. That's what I was elected to do."