UPDATE 2-Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez shakes up presidential race with VP pivot

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Argentina’s former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner waves to supporters after the presentation of her book “Sinceramente”, at the Buenos Aires book fair, in Buenos Aires, Argentina May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will run as a vice presidential candidate in elections later this year, a surprise move by the firebrand former leader who had been widely expected to be the main challenger to incumbent Mauricio Macri.

The left-leaning populist, a divisive character in South America’s No. 2 economy, said in a video posted on social media on Saturday she would run for the deputy position with former cabinet chief Alberto Fernandez as the presidential candidate.

Argentines will head to the polls in October, with Macri increasingly under fire amid a biting recession and inflation that has hurt the market friendly leader in the polls.

Cristina Fernandez, who has a strong core following, was seen as the most likely threat to Macri, although many in the country remain wary of turning back to the president who led the country between 2007-2015.

Alberto Fernández served as chief of staff for former President Nestor Kirchner, Cristina Fernandez’s late husband, and continued in his post for a few months during her first administration. He is considered a moderate within the broad Peronist political flank.

Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Alison Williams and Tom Brown

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