Argentina: a country in crisis - yet again - goes to the polls.

A crippling inflation rate of over 50%, increasing unemployment, rising poverty, and a year long recession. Against this background the people of Argentina will go to the polls this weekend to elect a President.

At the heart of the decision is economic hardship that has roiled Latin America’s no.3 economy since the middle of last year. It has hurt President Mauricio Macri, who under pressure had been pushing austerity measures to rein in debt. 

“The truth is that these last four years were very complicated for the country. At every step we’ve gone deeper into debt, and the number of poor people has increased,” Reuters reports Mario Volker, 25, and currently out of work in the capital city Buenos Aires. 

In the balance is the future of nation in debt to global creditors to the tune of over around $100 billion in sovereign debt. 

Volker is planning to vote for Macri’s main rival, centre-left Alberto Fernandez, who has brought the country’s powerful Peronist political flank to the brink of victory, with polls giving him a distant 20-point lead. 

On his ticket is running mate Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, a populist icon with huge support among the poor who ran the country from 2007 to 2015, though she remains divisive and is little loved by business or investors. 

Fernandez and the Peronists, a nebulous political flank born from the decades-ago rule of Juan Peron and his wife Eva Peron - or Evita - have risen in popularity as Macri’s star has waned. Their social welfare focus has been an easier sell than the economic frugality that Macri has argued is needed. 

“With the previous president that we had, there was work, there was food every day at the table and today that is missing in many homes and missing in my home too,” said Marcia Leites, 31, a mother of four in the poor northeastern province of Misiones. 

“I think if we change president it would be good.” 

Macri’s supporters say he needs more time after inheriting an already weakened economy. His reforms to open up the country with trade deals and by attracting overseas investment would eventually get the country going again, they claim. 

“I vote for Macri because... you cannot fix a country in four years that Kirchnerism destroyed in 12,” said Naura Akil, 46, a finance sector worker in the capital, referring to the three successive terms of Fernandez de Kirchner and earlier her late husband Nestor Kirchner. 

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