The announcement makes it likely that by the next presidential election in 2015, Argentina will have been governed nonstop for twelve years by one or another Kirchner.
Cristina’s husband and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner, took office in May 2003. Many had initially expected him, not Fernández, to run in 2011. That would have allowed the dynamic duo to remain in power perpetually by rotating through the presidency.
But an unexpected heart attack killed those plans, and Kirchner himself, last October.
I met him only once. But by most accounts, Kirchner was the ideas-man behind both his first term and Cristina’s. It’s unclear how her second term might differ from her first if she’s elected.
Whatever the case, some things are likely to change given a series of economic challenges that didn’t exist when Cristina took power in December 2007. She faces a major test in handling inflation that virtually all economists say surpasses 20% annually. She also faces a currency whose value in real terms is appreciating at the rate of around 15% annually, making Argentine companies and their products less competitive abroad.
How will she deal with such issues? True to her style, she hasn’t said.
Alberto Fernández, who is unrelated to the president and was her first cabinet chief, said Tuesday he expects the next four years to be “difficult.”
Time will tell. Critics have been discounting the Kirchners from day one.