Rodrigo Abd / AP

Argentina’s president stepping away from public office when term ends

There had been speculation that President Cristina Fernández would run for Congress when term ended

Argentina's Cristina Fernández will step down as president in December, but her influence may remain strong enough to impede investment-friendly reforms in Congress if her ruling party wins legislative elections in October.

Ending speculation she might run for Congress herself, the filing deadline passed at midnight on Saturday without her name appearing on any list of candidates. The outgoing two-term president is letting her economy minister lead the Front for Victory party's fight to retain control of the House and Senate.

"The candidate is the project," Economy Minister Axel Kicillof told local radio on Sunday, following the deadline for candidates to register ahead of the August party primaries.

"Those of us who represent the Front for Victory will be there to carry on and deepen a project that is now 12 years old," he said, referring to Fernández's eight years in power and the four-year presidency of her predecessor and late husband, Nestor Kirchner.

Her son Maximo Kirchner is seeking a seat in the House of Deputies for Santa Cruz province. 

Argentines will go to the polls on Oct. 25 to elect a new Congress and president. If Fernández's allies keep control of both legislative chambers, it may slow any market-friendly reform efforts by the next president, who is scheduled to take office on Dec. 10.

Argentina’s economy has slowed under Fernández, who is barred from seeking a third consecutive term in October but may run for the presidency again in four years. She was also the center of accusations that she helped shield Iranian officials allegedly behind the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center, effectively putting an end to a case that had exposed deep divisions in the South American nation.

The prosecutor before the Court of Appeals, said there wasn't enough evidence in late prosecutor Alberto Nisman's investigation to warrant a probe.

Front-running presidential candidate Daniel Scioli, who is a member of Fernández's party but favors a more pro-market approach to policy, has named her top legal adviser, Carlos Zannini, as his running mate.

"Zannini's nomination together with the packing of Front for Victory legislative tickets with Cristinista hard-liners will affect investors' perceptions about policy change," said Ignacio Labaqui, an analyst with Medley Global Advisors.

"Scioli's ability to make a clean break from Cristina might be negatively affected by her influence after the end of her presidential term," Labaqui said.

Al Jazeera with wire services

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