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Candidates end Argentina campaigns
First lady leads race for presidency as voters head to polls on Sunday.
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2007 13:11 GMT
Fernandez is tipped to win an overwhelming
majority in Sunday's vote

Candidates in Argentina's presidential election have ended their campaigns with first lady Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner firmly in the lead ahead of 13 other contenders.

 

Currently a national senator for Buenos Aires, she is tipped to win an overwhelming majority in Sunday's vote, which would make her the country's fi

The latest poll released on Thursday showed Fernandez with 43 per cent support, well ahead of her closest rival, Elisa Carrio, who trailed on 23 per cent, and former economy minister Roberto Lavagna on 16 per cent.

For an outright victory, a candidate needs 45 per cent of the ballots, or at least 40 per cent with a 10-point lead, otherwise a run-off poll will be held on November 25.

 
'Unrealised dreams'
 
Whoever the 27 million registered Argentinian voters pick as the president on Sunday will have to address problems of high inflation and low foreign investment.

 

In a speech at her final campaign rally in La Matanza, a Buenos Aires suburb, on Thursday, Fernandez focused on Nestor Kirchner's, her husband and the current president, legacy.

 

She pledged to "deepen" his economic policies which helped pull Argentina of out a 2002 financial crisis that sent the middle-class into poverty.

 

"Many of the dreams that we had, we have begun to achieve ... I call on you this Sunday for the dreams that are unrealised," she said, speaking almost entirely of Kirchner's achievements instead of her own plans.

 

"The changes that remain are deep and so the people have to be united."

 

'Supporters paid'

 

Omar Khalifa, Al Jazeera's reporter at the rally in La Matanza, said: "Hundreds of Argentines have been driven to the rally by the bus-load, and many of them have allegedly been paid around 20 pesos to turn up.
 
"Flags are being waved, people are chanting for her and banging drums," he said.
 
"There's a celebratory atmosphere, but this is quiet considering this is the FV's final rally before the election."
 

Supporters had allegedly been paid around
20 pesos to turn up to Fernandez's rally
 

Fernandez, 54, has often been compared to the US senator and former first lady Hillary Clinton, but says she does not like the reference.

 
"Hillary and I have few things in common: We've both been senators, lawyers and wives of presidents, but not much else," she told La Red radio on Wednesday.
 

Kirchner, whose government has been implicated in a series of corruption scandals, has not explained why he is not running for a second term other than saying he is stepping down because he is tired.

 

'Arrogance'

 

Roberto Lavagna, a former economy minister who was sacked by the president in 2005, has trailed behind Carrio with 10 to 13 per cent support.
 

In depth

Profile: Cristina Kirchner
Profile: Roberto Lavagno

Profile: Elisa Carrio
Argentina's Sex Slaves
Immigrants welcome

Lavagna, in wrapping up his campaign at a low-income housing project, also attacked Fernandez saying, "We don't know what plans she has. She hasn't said anything."

 

The closest rival to Fernandez is former legislator Elisa Carrio, who is campaigning on an anti-corruption platform.

 
In closing her campaign, Carrio denounced the "arrogance" of those in power, a clear reference to the Kirchners.

"The Argentina that is coming is not the Argentina offered up by the marketing campaigns of others," she said.
Source:
Agencies
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