An Article in the Globe and Mail discusses the impending victory of Argentina’s Christina Fernandez de Kirchner in the presidential race.

Kirchner is the wife of outgoing president Nestor Kirchner, and she also served as his chief advisor during his four year mandate as president. Kirchner is credited with pulling Argentina out of a dramatic economic slump, and renewing the country’s job stability.

Kirchner is leading her opponent by a ten percent margin. Interestingly, her chief rival is also a woman, Eliso Carrio.

If the official tally confirms that Ms. Fernandez has more than 45 per cent of the vote, or 40 per cent with a 10 percentage point lead over Ms. Carrio, she will win the presidency without facing a runoff election next month.

Ms. Fernandez, 54, ran on the record of her husband, leftist President Nestor Kirchner, and she would take over from him in a highly unusual transfer of power between democratically elected spouses.

Many Argentines credit Mr. Kirchner with pulling the country out of a dramatic economic crisis in 2001-02 and using growth of 8 per cent a year to create jobs, raise salaries and expand pension benefits.

Kirchner’s victory, however, is marred with questions. A virtual non-entity in the debates, and less than explicit about her policy plans, she may be riding on her husband’s success (which she arguably engineered anyway). While Kirchner is the second female political leader to be elected president in the last two years (after Chile’s Michelle Bachelet), I am curious what exactly lead to her election.

Her campaign seemed effortless. Handpicked by her husband and chosen by a faction of the Peronist party without a primary, Ms. Fernandez avoided debates and was vague on policy.

Rivals have criticized the Mr. Kirchners as being authoritarian and treating the election as the beginning of a political dynasty to tighten their grip on the presidency and Congress.

If her campaign was so “effortless,” as this reporter describes, then why is she farther ahead of her female rival? Is the Argentinian public aware of her role in her husband’s success, or are they simply voting on a “sure thing?” And why hasn’t someone discussed Carrio’s plans? Is she further left than Kirchner–might that account for her realtive unpopularity? Or is she simply ‘unbolstered’ by a male counterpart? All very interesting questions to me–any answers?

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