Cristina Kirchner attends an election rally wearing a somber, black outfit – the same color she has been using this past year to mourn her husband, the former president, Nestor Kirchner. But for this savvy stateswoman, there appears to be no political mourning – just a whisper of a celebration waiting in the wings.
Unlike previous elections, Kirchner decided to close her campaign in a small theater in Buenos Aires and not in a filled stadium filled with followers of the Peronist movement. The difference in tone this time around is that the president knows that she will probably win by a landslide on Sundays presidential balloting.
Cristina, 58, as she is commonly referred by Argentines, is over 30 points ahead of her closest rival, the socialist provincial governor, Hermes Binner. Her popularity has soared in recent months.
Kirchner has moderated her discourse against the country¹s elite and has become more conciliatory and has also implemented policies that are seen with good eyes by the middle class.
For example: going after powerful and corrupt labor union leaders, attempting to reform the country¹s security forces that have been known for their abuses and corruption and supporting laws like same sex marriage and abortion.
Buenos Aires has been at the centre of a nation growing steadily since the crises of 2001 thanks to its devaluated currency that has made the country competitive and the high prices of its commodities like the soya bean.
In the last years the government has increased public spending. Argentina currently spends almost 40 per cent of its GDP- and has encouraged consumption launching plans like ‘LCD TV’s for everyone’, among others.
And it is investments like this that has paid off: her approval ratings currently stand around 60 per cent.
But there has also been bad news for the former lawyer and First Lady.
Inflation: private consultants say that Argentina has one of the highest inflation rates in the western hemisphere. It currently stands between 20-25 per cent but the government denies these figures.
The country¹s INDEC or National Institute of Statistics and Census has seen intervention and purports figures that private economists have put into doubt.
There have also been corruption scandals that the opposition have tried to use to their advantage during its election campaign. But polls show that at this point people care more about the country¹s economic stability and continued growth.
Alejandro Catterberg from Poliarquia, a private consulting group, says that the president¹s approval rating has gone hand in hand with the economy and that’s why on Sunday she could get the largest amount of votes that an Argentine president ever got since the country returned to democracy in 1983.
The question is though is: What will style be like for the next four years … confronting, like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez or conciliatory like Brazil’s center left former leader Luis Inacio “Lula Da Silva”.
The latter is one that has opened her up to the middle class and one that will probably keep her in the presidential palace for another term.