Iran-Allied Leftists Take Back Argentina amid Economic Meltdown

Argentina's presidential candidate for the Frente de Todos party Alberto Fernandez addresses supporters after being elected as new president at the party's headquarters in Buenos Aires on October 27, 2019. - Peronist candidate Alberto Fernandez won Argentina's presidential election in the first round, official results showed, bringing to an end …

Leftist candidate Alberto Fernández won Argentina’s presidential election on Sunday, ousting the incumbent Mauricio Macri in a campaign dominated by concerns over the country’s ongoing economic crisis.

Fernández, who appointed former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (no relation) his running mate, secured around 48 percent of the vote, passing the 45 percent threshold necessary to avoid a second-round run-off.

Jubilant crowds gathered at Fernández’s election headquarters to celebrate the result, which has already caused a significant downturn in markets and rising inflation amid concerns among investors about his socialist economic agenda.

Addressing his supporters, Fernández said he would meet Macri to discuss an orderly transition to power. “The times ahead are not easy,” he declared. “But of course we will collaborate in everything we can because the only thing that concerns us is that Argentines stop suffering once and for all.”

The result is a considerable setback for the anti-socialist wave that has swept through Latin America over the past decade, following the ousting of left-wing governments in Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Paraguay.

Fernández had been the strong favorite since winning a landslide victory during August’s primary elections and later extended his lead in pre-election opinion polls. He pledged to restore the country’s economic standing by increasing spending and renegotiating $100 billion in sovereign debt left by his predecessor that may eventually lead to a damaging default.

Supporters of Macri argue that his pro-market policies would require some diminishing of the size of the government and its aid to the public and that he inherited an unstable economy following 12 years of socialist governance. The vice president-elect preceded Macri in the office of the presidency.

Fernández’s victory also marks a return for former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who a judge ordered the arrest of in 2017 on charges of treason over claims she covered up the involvement of the Iranian regime in the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) — an attack which killed 85 people and injured hundreds more — in exchange for favorable trade deals.

In 2015, federal prosecutor Alberto Nisman was preparing an indictment against various Iranian officials over their role in the attack, which was carried out by the regime’s terror proxy. He was found dead a day before a congressional hearing where he intended to present his accusations. Kirchner’s government ruled his death a suicide, although critics believe he was the victim of a conspiracy to commit murder.

The 66-year-old, who led Argentina from 2007 to 2015 following the death of her husband Néstor, also faced allegations of embezzling government funds intended for infrastructure projects. However, she had her case suspended earlier this year, allowing her to run for office once again.

In a clear sign of his future foreign policy, the new president sent a message to former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva, who has been serving a 12-year-old prison sentence since last year for taking bribes from government contractors and using them to buy a luxury beachfront property. His imprisonment paved the way for conservative firebrand Jair Bolsonaro to sweep to victory in last year’s presidential election.

“Today also marks the birthday of Lula Da Silva, an extraordinary man who has been unjustly imprisoned for the past year and a half. Congratulations do you, dear Lula. I hope to see you soon,” Fernández wrote on Twitter Sunday.

Follow Ben Kew on Facebook, on Twitter at @ben_kew, or email him at


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.