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Argentina: Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner renounces presidential bid

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Argentina: Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner renounces presidential bid
Argentina: Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner renounces presidential bid. picture-alliance/AP Photo/N. Pisarenko
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Argentina's former president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, surprised voters on Saturday by announcing that she was running for vice president instead of the top job.

Fernandez had been widely tipped to run a populist campaign against President Mauricio Macri in presidential elections in October. But she will instead be running as a deputy to former cabinet chief Alberto Fernandez, a more moderate candidate.

"The situation of the people and the country is dramatic, and I'm convinced this arrangement we're proposing best reflects what is needed in Argentina at this time," Fernandez said in a video on her official Twitter account.

"I have asked Alberto Fernandez to lead a team that includes both of us, him as the presidential candidate and me as candidate for the vice position."

Presidential hopeful Alberto Fernandez said he wanted to "restore dignity to millions of Argentines that this government has plunged into marginality and poverty."

Read more: Ex-Argentine president cleared in 1994 Jewish center bombing cover-up

Corruption allegations

Polls had shown Fernandez could defeat Macri, who has overseen painful market reforms, in a second round of voting. But with her relegated to deputy, it is unclear what her party's prospects are.

Complicating her bid is an upcoming Supreme Court case in which she is accused of corruption. She allegedly took bribes in exchange for public work contracts. She has denied these claims and said lower courts did not allow her to present more witnesses.

Fernandez is also facing separate cases of alleged bribery, money laundering and criminal association during her administration and that of former president Nestor Kirchner, Cristina Fernandez's late husband.

Many Argentinians are frustrated by an inflation rate that reached 47.6% last year and slashed subsidies on utilities and public transportation.

aw/amp (AP, Reuters)

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