Argentina’s Fernandez, A Divisive Figure, Hunts Allies For Election Comeback | 11/19/2018 | Staff
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina’s former president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, is trying to win over rivals as she plots a political comeback to take on incumbent Mauricio Macri and his IMF-backed economic reforms in elections later this year. It’s not proving easy.

The left-leaning populist politician still commands a powerful support base but remains a divisive figure within the Peronist movement that has been Argentina’s dominant political force since the 1940s. In the past few weeks, her advisers have been meeting rival leaders among the ideologically diverse factions that make up the movement.

Meetings - Peronists - Fernandez - Support - Base

The meetings, which could ultimately be fruitless, have been with more moderate Peronists who could help Fernandez widen her support base.

The response to her outreach has been mostly lukewarm or outright rejection, according Peronist leaders and aides interviewed by Reuters, raising a question mark over her ability to mount a challenge to Macri, a center-right former businessman.

People - Government - José - Luis - Gioja

“The people are angry with the current government,” said José Luis Gioja, a lawmaker who presides over the formal Peronist Party and supports Fernandez. However, “achieving unity is tough,” he told Reuters.

The former president has had more luck attracting support on a regional level from local mayors and governors, hoping to ride her popular support in their own elections. But at a national level, rivals have distanced themselves from Fernandez, in part because of internal power disputes and memories of her confrontational style of governing.

Fernandez - Election - Sources - Reuters - February

Fernandez intends to run in the election, sources told Reuters in February, although she has yet to declare herself officially a candidate. Her comeback could be good news for Macri, helping to divide the opposition into rival camps.

If she runs, Fernandez’s support for generous social welfare subsidies and protectionist economic policies will be pitched against Macri’s push for smaller government, subsidy cuts, and the continuation of a $56.3...
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