Alberto Fernandez said he would “hand over the presidential belt” and would not seek re-election in the October polls.
Argentina’s president has said he will not seek re-election when the South American country votes later this year to lead the ruling Peronist coalition amid a deepening economic crisis.
Instead of serving a term, Alberto Fernandez said in a video message on Friday that he would “hand over the presidential belt to someone legally elected at the polls in October.”
Argentina’s most important political force, the Peronists, is struggling in the polls, with inflation above 100%, dollar reserves dwindling and factions infighting over who should be its presidential candidate.
Center-left Fernandez, who took office in late 2019, admitted in the seven-and-a-half-minute video that “it is clear that we have not achieved everything we set out to do during his tenure”.
He said he now wanted to “focus my efforts, my commitment and my heart on solving the problems of the Argentines”.
Internal disputes within the ruling coalition have become public, with allies of Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner calling for months on Fernandez not to seek re-election so they could better devise an electoral strategy ahead of August primaries.
Fernández’s poll ratings have plummeted amid years of economic sluggishness in Argentina, with more than 50 percent of children living in poverty and annual inflation of more than 100 percent.
About seven in 10 Argentines have a negative view of Fernandez, according to a March poll by local consultancy Giacobbe & Asociados.
The poll found that only 10 percent had a positive impression of the president.
Fernandez’s decision not to seek re-election came at the end of a week when local currencies slumped in financial markets and sovereign bond prices plummeted.