Argentine former President Néstor Kirchner announced Monday he had resigned the presidency of the Justicialista (Peronist) Party, in a message that was recorded in the Olivos presidential residency by the official news agency Telam and was aired by the local media.
Kirchner added that he asked Buenos Aires Governor Daniel Scioli to replace him and become the new chief of the party and reiterated he lost against Dissident Peronist Francisco de Narváez only by a bit, less than two percentage points.
The resignation was seen as the first immediate consequence of the crushing defeat suffered by the Kirchner couple in Sunday’s mid term elections. The move was also a stunning admission of defeat for a combative and often stubborn politician, effectively dashing dreams of a political dynasty for Kirchner and his wife, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
On Sunday the Kirchners lost in Argentina’s main five electoral circumscriptions, and even in their own turf in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, but the most damaging was the defeat in Buenos Aires province, where Mr. Kirchner campaigned most vigorously and was head of the Deputies list.
The former president said that Sunday’s results show that the people want Scioli to continue as governor of the province of Buenos Aires.
But he also admitted that “when you run into a result that was not what was expected, one must adopt the corresponding attitudes”.
Kirchner added he wanted to be able to move “more freely” in preparation for the alternatives of 2011, when Argentina will be holding presidential elections.
After Mrs. Kirchner was elected to succeed her husband back in 2007, the former president took control of the Peronist party as part of the strategy to support her presidency and prepare for a return in 2011.
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