Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner confirmed Thursday that she will not be a candidate in the October presidential elections.
"No, no, not president," she said during a speech to more than 2,000 supporters at a theatre in La Plata, responding to Kirchernite activists outside who had started chanting "Cristina presidenta!" as she spoke.
Fernández de Kirchner, 70, told her supporters not to have false hopes. Her comments come after a week of renewed financial turbulence for Argentina, whose national currency, the peso, depreciated in parallel exchange markets.
The former president's speech was highly anticipated. Fernández de Kirchner, who served as head of state for two terms between 2007 and 2015, had not spoken publicly since President Alberto Fernández announced he would not seek re-election in October.
Despite the fact that polls show her as the best-ranking potential Peronist candidate, Fernández de Kirchner alleged that she was "condemned, banned and disqualified" from running for political office – a reference to the sentence she faces from last year's corruption conviction in the courts, which her legal team is appealing. The Senate chief also recalled the failed assassination attempt on her life in September 2022.
Fernández de Kirchner called on the ruling Frente de Todos coalition to discuss "a programme" for the upcoming elections, though she avoided endorsing a particular candidate. Last December she said she was "not going to be a candidate for anything" after being handed a sentence of six years in prison and a permanent ban from holding political office for corruption and fraud, a ruling she describes as "political persecution."
The former president offered her opinion on various political issues during her speech, including the 'dollarisation' proposal from libertarian lawmaker Javier Milei that has gained traction in Argentina's press of late. Fernández de Kirchner warned about its potential consequences for the population.
She also went on to criticise Argentina's US$44.5-billion debt programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at length, blaming the multilateral lender's policies for the country's economic problems.
Inflation, which currently stands at 104 percent year-on-year, would not be solved by dollarisation or the IMF's policies, Fernández de Kirchner argued.
"The IMF agreement is a burden. It is criminal. We are facing a brutal dilemma. And we are not saying that we don't have to pay, we have to revise it to remove the conditionalities such as prohibiting the intervention of the Central Bank [in currency markets], and dictating fiscal and monetary policies," the former president declared.