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Kirchner book launch seen as prelude to election run

Former president Cristina Kirchner ‘s book is a prelude to her bid for the presidency in October. (Reuters pic)

BUENOS AIRES: Argentina’s former president Cristina Kirchner released a book on Thursday that analysts say is the first step toward the 66-year-old running for the country’s top job once again.

Kirchner’s book “Sincerely” was eagerly expected in the hope it would reveal whether or not she’s planning another bid for the presidency in October’s elections.

And while she herself gave nothing away within its pages, experts have no doubt as to its significance.

“Cristina Kirchner’s book… is one step in her election campaign,” political scientist Rosendo Fraga told AFP, adding that some phrases are meant to “seduce the electorate.”

In the book, Kirchner writes: “Today the country is in complete political, economic, social and cultural regression and I hope that, by reading these pages, we can think and discuss without hate, without lies and without grievances.”

Sociologist Ricardo Rouvier told AFP: “I think the book reaffirms what we all believe: that in the end she will be a presidential candidate. If she wasn’t, I’d be very surprised.”

She doesn’t miss the chance to aim a broadside at her successor and incumbent President Mauricio Macri, whose popularity has been hit by Argentina’s economic woes.

“Macri is chaos, that’s why I firmly believe that Argentina needs to be sorted out,” says Kirchner, who was president from 2007-15.

Inflation has reached more than 55% over the last 12 months, severely denting the spending power of the population, while in March alone prices rose by 4.7%.

The peso lost more than 50% of its value against the dollar last year and Macri was forced to go to the International Monetary Fund, where he secured a US$56 billion loan.

The subsequent austerity measures he was forced to adopt, at the IMF’s insistence, have been deeply unpopular in a country where so many are feeling the pinch.

Although she led the latest opinion polls with 33% compared to Macri’s 24, Kirchner’s participation in elections is far from certain given that she is the subject of more than 10 corruption investigations related to her time in office.

She will go on trial in the first of those cases on May 21, accused of diverting public funds.

“They have done so before and are continuing to do everything possible to destroy me. They think they will end up knocking me down, clearly they don’t know me,” the leftist leader says in her book.

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