President Cristina Kirchner gave Economy Minister Amado Boudou the surprise of his life on Saturday, choosing him to be her vice presidential candidate in October’s election.
The 47-year-old Boudou appeared exceptionally pleased with the announcement, which took almost all 1,000 people in attendance by surprise.
Boudou’s nice-guy face filled with emotion as he heard Kirchner say he would be the No. 2 person on her ticket.
Boudou is arguably the most affable official in the Kirchner administration. A self-described rocker, he enjoys playing the guitar and singing. He likes to party and is a fan of Argentina’s nightlife.
On one occasion, while making an important announcement about Argentina’s sovereign debt problem, he invited a local rock star to accompany him in the press room.
Boudou is perhaps most famous, or infamous if you’re a critic, for denying that Argentina has an inflation problem. At one point he said not only that inflation didn’t exist in Argentina but that it could not exist given the country’s macroeconomic conditions.
The minister in fact knows this not to be the case, which has led critics to say he’s a Kirchner “soldier” whose loyalty is uncompromising.
Though dismissed by some as an intellectual lightweight with little technical knowledge of economic theory, Boudou’s influence on Argentina has been substantial.
It was Boudou who first proposed to Kirchner that she should nationalize Argentina’s 14-year-old private pension fund system.
It was a radical idea, but one that Cristina and former president Nestor Kirchner grew to appreciate enormously.
In naming Boudou as her VP on Saturday, Cristina praised him for bringing the idea to her. The decision to nationalize the pension fund system was the most important she has made as president, she said.
Argentina’s election is October 23. You can watch Cristina’s speech here.