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Foreign Policy (blog), USA, July 2, 2007

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Argentina's own Hillary Clinton?

Mon, 07/02/2007 - 10:24am.
LUIS ACOSTA/AFP

Néstor Kirchner isn't standing for a second term as Argentina's president. Instead, he's recommending his wife for the position. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who represents the highly populous Buenos Aires province in the Argentinian Senate, plans to run for Argentina's top job in October.

Kirchner is reasonably well liked, with an approval rating of 52 percent. It's not as if he couldn't win reelection. So why is he doing this? The Post speculates that Néstor is worried that recent setbacks have hurt his popularity. His plan, analysts suspect, is to give Cristina a turn at the wheel and return to power in 2011. (Argentina prohibits a president from serving more than two terms in a row.) The Kirchners' scheme to stay in power for longer could very well work; none of the other four contenders for the presidency is even polling in the double digits.

Cristina, interestingly, has been critical of her husband's friendship with Hugo Chávez. But she can only go so far in distancing Argentina from Chávez, as Strafor notes—her country's economic health depends on the Venezuelan strongman's continued largesse.

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