Maximo Kirchner Steps From Shadows as Allies Push Candidacy

Maximo Kirchner, the 38-year-old son of Nestor and Cristina who have run Argentina since 2003, is emerging from his secluded life in Patagonia as allies call for him to run for public office this year.

Maximo, who helped found the Campora youth organization that animates government events with drumming, flag waving and chanting, currently lives in Rio Gallegos, Santa Cruz province and has never run for an elected post. He left the possibility open during a rare 50-minute radio interview Tuesday.

“We’ll see further along what my comrades decide,” Kirchner said during the interview on Radio Continental.

A political career for Maximo could keep the Peronist branch known as Kirchnerismo alive beyond President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s term in office. Fernandez is not eligible to run for a third-consecutive term in the Oct. 25 presidential election.

At least three of Maximo’s comrades from La Campora, including the head of state-run Aerolineas Argentinas, and presidential candidate Florencio Randazzo, said they would like to see Maximo Kirchner as candidate in some post after the radio interview.

Election Outlook

Maximo spent most of the interview denouncing media campaigns that have accused him of holding overseas bank accounts and irregularities in the family-run hotel businesses in the south. He acknowledged that he’s more known as a shy person prone to playing Playstation at home than speaking at political rallies.

“I’ve gone from playing Playstation all day to holding a flame thrower,” he said. “I’ve held a profile of staying out of the limelight. They try to make it look like I grew up in a cradle surrounded by dollars.”

Kirchner also criticized presidential candidate Mauricio Macri, saying his plans to lift currency controls as soon as he takes office would be disastrous for the country.

Macri, the current mayor of Buenos Aires, said he and Kirchner have different ideas about how the country should be run.

“I celebrate that he’s come out of the shadows and spoken,” Macri said in an interview on Radio Mitre.

While Kirchner’s approval rating has risen slightly in Santa Cruz province where he lives to about 29 percent, his disapproval rating is about 47 percent, which would make it difficult for him to run for office there, said Celia Kleiman, director of polling firm Polldata. He may improve his odds by running for a seat in Buenos Aires province where his mother’s popularity is still strong, Kleiman said.

“It’s possible that Buenos Aires province would be better for him because he doesn’t have a direct experience there and he could benefit from votes from his mother’s political base,” Kleiman said by phone from Buenos Aires.

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