After being convicted guilty of fraud charges, Argentina’s strong Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner declared she would not seek public office, thereby ruling out a second presidential run in 2016.
Tuesday morning, Fernandez de Kirchner was granted a lifelong ban from holding public office in addition to a six-year jail term. Given her immunity as vice president and senate majority leader, she is not anticipated to serve the term for the foreseeable future.
When her time as president of Argentina ended in December 2023, Kirchner, who presided from 2007 to 2015, appeared live via webcast from her Senate office just minutes after the court’s verdict.
In it, she rejected the judgment and said that she would not run for any office. She said that her “opponents,” who she dubbed the judges, legislators, and critical media sources, would now have a clear path to convicting her.
She claimed that the prohibition against holding public office rather than any jail term was the real penalty. “
However, I won’t for the political force that granted me the distinction of serving as president twice and vice president once to be treated unfairly during an election with a guilty candidate. I’m not running for office.
Kirchner, 69, is free to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, which would prolong the procedure. She alluded to a potential appeal in her address but did not make it explicit.
The vice president said, “I’m going to do everything I have to do” to change the direction the country is headed before the court judgment, fueling rumours that she would seek government in the general elections in 2023.
Argentina’s ruling coalition is severely split, with Kirchner-aligned legislators putting distance between themselves and those who support President Alberto Fernandez.
The market’s response on Wednesday was mild; as of 9:23 a.m. in New York, Argentina’s dollar bonds due 2030 had risen 0.1 cents to around 25.6 cents on the dollar.
According to Ignacio Labaqui, an analyst at Medley Global Advisors in Buenos Aires, while the decision to not run for office may damage the ruling coalition in the general elections the following year, it may also energize her core group of followers, allowing her time to plan her future moves.
She still has time to reconsider her decision because the deadline for announcing candidates is far off, according to Labaqui. However, from a political perspective, it was a smart move because she was essentially saying the following;
“I’m not terrified of going to jail, and I don’t need any type of protection that comes from an elected post; therefore, I’m not afraid of you.”
In the years she served as president between 2007 and 2015, Kirchner, one of Argentina’s most powerful and divisive leaders, was accused of graft and of allegedly running an “illicit association” with a construction mogul.
Prosecutors are seeking a 12-year jail sentence. Judges cleared her of the accusation of unlawful association in their decision.