By Nicolás Misculin
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) -Argentine Interior Minister Eduardo ‘Wado’ de Pedro, an ally of powerful Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, announced on Thursday he will run for the ruling Peronist bloc’s presidential nomination in August primaries.
Ex-cabinet chief and current Tucuman provincial Governor Juan Manzur will be his running mate as vice president, a pairing that represents the more leftist wing of the government coalition.
The announcement, after months of uncertainty about who might run, positions 46-year-old de Pedro as one of the frontrunners to lead the ruling bloc into general elections in October, where it is behind in the polls amid rising poverty and 100%-plus inflation.
“I know that it won’t be an easy task,” de Pedro said in a video post announcing his candidacy.
“We have urgent problems: the irresponsible debt left to us, the drama of inflation and unacceptable poverty levels. We have to tackle these urgent issues without excuses.”
The deadline to register to run in the primaries is on Saturday night. Other more moderate Peronist tickets are expected to join de Pedro and Manzur, who are in the more militant “Kirchnerist” wing of the political bloc.
The primary candidates for the main opposition conservative bloc Juntos por el Cambio include Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Larreta and ex-security minister Patricia Bullrich. Also riding high is far-right libertarian economist Javier Milei.
De Pedro, a center-left Peronist lawyer and activist, is known as being a more youthful, dialogue-led politician, although some question his experience as a political operator.
Manzur, 54, was twice elected governor of the northern province of Tucuman, a position he temporarily left to take over as national cabinet chief in 2021 until earlier this year.
(Reporting by Nicolas Misculin; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
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