Profile: Elisa Maria Avelina Carrio

Carrio promises to reduce export taxes on beef and agricultural products.

    Carrio greets followers during an election rally [EPA]
    Elisa Maria Avelina Carrio is the founder and leader of the Afirmacion para una Republica Igualitaria (ARI) party, as well as a presidential candidate for the Coalicion Civica, which includes ARI and grouping of smaller, newer parties.

    Carrio has placed herself as the political polar opposite to Cristina Kirchner, Argentina's first lady and presidential candidate, by denouncing her glamourous appearance and alleged lack of morality.

    Born in the northern province of Chaco in 1956, Carrio became a lawyer in 1978 and later a prosecutor in the province.

    Between 1995 and 2003 she represented Chaco in the Argentine national congress. In 2005 she was elected to represent the City of Buenos Aires in Congress.

    Carrio's rise to prominence crossed political boundaries as she campaigned for former President Fernando de la Rua in 1999, despite being to the left of him politically.

    As De la Rua's government turned to the right and in 2000 caused fractures in the governing coalition, whose main support came from socialists and the Front for a Country in Solidarity (FrePaSo), Carrio turned to the Democratic Socialist party and formed another political movement, Argentinos por una Republica de Iguales, or Argentines for a Republic of Equals (ARI).

    Subsequently, the socialist majority left the coalition, and Carrio and her allies transformed the informal ARI movement into a formal party.

    In 2003, Carrio made an unsuccessful bid for the presidency, but in the process won more than three million votes.

    In March 2007, she resigned from congress to become a presidential candidate for the Coalicion Civica, a broad coalition of parties, which includes ARI.

    Rural appeal

    Carrio has said she would reduce and in some cases eliminate export taxes on beef and agricultural products. She also has said restrictions should be placed on foreign purchases of Argentine farmland.

    Carrio says she might be larger now,
    but at least she is happier [EPA]
    Additionally, Carrio has said she would create an agricultural ministry and focus more on boosting farm production. Argentina, one of the world's leading food producers, now has only an agriculture secretariat.

    As women, Carrio and Cristina Kirchner have been compared politically by the Argentine media, but they have also been contrasted for their different approaches to style and fashion.

    Cristina is famous in Argentina for her shopping sprees and the amount of time she spends on hair and makeup sessions. In contrast, Carrio has long been known for her more austere style.

    "I used to be thin and beautiful," Carrio said before the 2003 election. "But when I started eating what I felt like eating and wearing what I felt like wearing, it made me happier."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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