The model is based on a strong state role in the economy, policies designed to spur internal manufacturing, and pro-labor measures such as subsidies and high wage increases. “What she is doing now is exactly what Peron would have done,” Peralta said in an interview.
Fernandez de Kirchner enjoys a popularity rating that tops 60 percent. At the start of her presidency, though, she was mired in controversy and bitter political battles, which left her and Kirchner, who was at her side as a de facto vice president, weakened.
The discovery of a suitcase entering Argentina on a flight from Venezuela with $800,000 led to accusations that the money was a campaign gift from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, an ally of Fernandez de Kirchner. More damaging was an angry and sustained tussle with Argentina’s powerful agricultural sector in 2008, which led to protests and paralyzed production after her government raised taxes on soy exports.
Then the nationalization of private pension funds frightened Argentines, who worried that the government would spend the money. Fernandez de Kirchner’s popularity rating tumbled to 20 percent, and the government lost control of the National Congress in 2009 as the economy flagged.
But economic growth rebounded last year.
Then, last October, Nestor Kirchner died of a heart attack. That started a wave of sympathy that helped Fernandez de Kirchner rise steadily in the polls. Throughout her campaign, the president dressed in black, cried frequently and repeatedly extolled Kirchner’s policies, stressing that she would continue to follow them closely.
Marcelo Murua, 38, was among those who strongly supported Fernandez de Kirchner, saying that her policies have offered a sharp break with a past that was harmful to ordinary Argentines.
“We were without work. The education system was not working. There was no justice or equality,” he said. “Now there is work, and we are fighting for education for all, for a government that represents us all.”