Argentine leader summons ally tipped as running mate

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 22, 2011 6:21 PM
Argentine leader summons ally tipped as running mate

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentine President Cristina Fernandez called a meeting on Wednesday with Chaco Governor Jorge Capitanich, a close ally tipped as her possible running mate for an October election, an official said.

Fernandez said on Tuesday she would run for a second four-year term on October 23, ending speculation about her candidacy and shifting attention to who she will choose as her potential vice president.

"The president invited him to the presidential palace at 6 p.m. (2100 GMT)," a spokesman for the Chaco government said.

An accountant by trade, Capitanich was a senator for the Chaco region between 2001 and 2007, which would come in handy if he wins office since by law the vice president is also head of the Senate.

An ally of Fernandez and her late husband and predecessor as president, Nestor Kirchner, Capitanich is unlikely to challenge Fernandez, as current Vice President Julio Cobos did over her handling of a 2008 farm conflict, turning him into a leading opposition figure.

Capitanich was elected governor of the poor northern province of Chaco in late 2007.

Economic analysts say Fernandez's candidacy was already factored in to the markets, but that her choice of running mate could give important signs over her policy plans during a possible second term.

"There could be an impact (on Argentine asset prices) when we know who her running mate is," said Jorge Alberti, an analyst at Buenos Aires brokerage El Accionista.

(Reporting by Helen Popper and Guido Nejamkis, Editing by Sandra Maler)