Frente de Todos candidate Alberto Fernández and his running-mate, former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, brought their national campaign a close in Mar del Plata on Thursday night, calling for voters to end “the historic cycle” of neoliberalism in Argentina.
Fernández de Kirchner proclaimed that the crowd gathered in Mar del Plata did not merely embody the end of their presidential campaign, but the final defeat of neoliberalist policies in Argentina.
“Once and for all, this country will never again fall into the hands of neoliberalism. We must relieve the suffering of the Argentine people, and we are here together today for this cause. Never again, these policies,” vowed the ex-president, provoking the crowd to erupt into a chant of “Nunca más” (“Never again”).
Fernández de Kirchner, a senator for Buenos Aires Province, introduced Fernández with a powerful gusto that drew an emotional response from the presidential hopeful.
“Alberto was not a national legislator, nor did he occupy office in his four years, but he was the Cabinet chief for the political project that in 2003 restored dignity to the Argentine people,” declared the former president.
Fernández was visibly moved, tears welling in his eyes.
She continued: “He was the Cabinet chief to the government responsible for the most important restructuring of Argentina’s external debt, which produced the most important relief. The Cabinet chief that paid off the debt to the IMF that has dragged this country down since 1957. He was the Cabinet chief to the government that began to rebuild wages in Argentina.”
Furthermore, the former president spoke about what unites Frente de Todos, beyond their political intentions:.
My dear compatriots, this is not just a campaign finale with candidates who have come to say whatever, so that you vote for them. This is not how we are. We are Frente de Todos, we have convictions,” she insisted.
She concluded by presenting to the crowd the man who she declared to be “the next president of the Republic of Argentina.”
'A better progressivism'
The Peronist nominee began his speech with an ode to his coalition's gubernatorial candidate for Buenos Aires Province, Axel Kicillof, and the aspiring mayor of the city General Pueyrredón Fernanda Raverta, whom he identified as being “the best young hope of political leadership” in this country.
He then reminisced upon the formative years of Kirchnerismo. He recalled a 2002 meeting of the Calafate Group in which president Néstor Kirchner, who running-mate's late husband, shared with him that he no longer aspired to be “the progressive pole to the conservative factions” of Peronism, but to move into the establishment of a distinct political movement, then represented by the Justicialist Party (PJ).
Invoking those sentiments, he declared: “We call upon the Argentine people. We will be the ones that raise the flag of a better progressivism.”
“We know what has to be done for Argentina to rise,” he emphasised, saying this Sunday would be “the start to the turning of the reprehensible page that began to be written December 10, 2015.”
He turned to what would be his political imperative in another part of the speech. “Taking these five million impoverished people out of the place they have remained, out of the place where Macri has left them will be our first priority,” he promised.
Fernández concluded, “In 2002, we set out to assemble the Argentines. Many from Peronism. Others that were not Peronists. Radicals, socialists. And this gave us the victory. Many years passed, but it is more alive than ever. We are the essence of what the Argentine people want.”