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Argentina fan celebrates after the World Cup match against Mexico.

REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

World Cup heats up Argentina’s presidential race

When Argentina faces Poland in their do-or-die last group stage match on Wednesday, one thing will be missing at the stadium in Qatar: Argentine politicians.

In the soccer-crazy South American nation, políticos rarely watch the Albiceleste, in person to avoid getting blamed for a loss. Former President Mauricio Macri didn’t get the memo, as he attended — in his new FIFA gig — Argentina’s shocking loss to Saudi Arabia last week. Almost on cue, fans responded by launching an online petition for Macri and his bad juju to stay as far away as possible from GOAT Leo Messi and his crew.

But the brouhaha over Macri is part of a bigger story: The former president has hinted he might want to get his old job back in next year’s election.

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Supporters gather in front of the house of Argentina's Vice-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner after she was attacked in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

What We’re Watching: Argentine VP assassination attempt, Ethiopian escalation, Zaporizhzhia tour

Argentine VP survives assassination attempt

Argentina's influential VP Cristina Fernández de Kirchner survived an assassination attempt on Thursday night outside her residence in Buenos Aires. A gunman took aim from close range, but his loaded weapon failed to fire. Cops then arrested the man, a Brazilian national with a history of following hate groups on social media. We don’t know the motive and political violence in the country rarely gets bloody, but political tensions have been running very high since last week, when a prosecutor asked for the far-left firebrand VP and former president to be sentenced to 12 years in prison for corruption. Still, her trial will be anything but swift, and Cristina — as she’s universally known — is unlikely to go to jail for charges she calls a "witch hunt." President Alberto Fernández (no relation, nor a big fan of the VP) declared a national holiday on Friday, which the conservative opposition decried as a gambit to turn out crowds in favor of Cristina.

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Argentina's VP Cristina Fernández de Kirchner waves at supporters next to President Alberto Fernández at the closing campaign rally before the 2021 midterm elections in Buenos Aires.

REUTERS, Paige Fusco

War of the Fernandezes in Argentina

Argentina's leftwing government is led by two people named Fernández: President Alberto Fernández and his vice president, the almost equally powerful former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

The two have always been odd bedfellows, and often clash over policy. But lately their disagreements have reached fever pitch, fueling rumors of a split that could hurt the president's reelection odds next year amid a worsening economic crisis: sky-high inflation, a plummeting peso, capital controls, and Argentina's usual piling debt.

Why don't the president and the VP get along, and what does that mean for Argentina's political future? We get some clarity from Eurasia Group's Daniel Kerner and Luciano Sigalov.

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Activists demonstrate with a cardboard depicting late President Juan Domingo Peron and Maria Eva Duarte Peron, as Argentines demonstrate in support of Fernandez's administration as they celebrate the Loyalty Day, which commemorates the massive mobilization by supporters of Peron to demand his release after he was imprisoned, in 1945, in Buenos Aires, Argentina October 17, 2021.

REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

The end of Peronismo in Argentina?

Argentina is famous for tango, literary greats like Jorge Luis Borges, and for producing (arguably) the world's two best soccer players of all time in Diego Maradona and Leo Messi. It's the third-largest economy in Latin America, and a global agricultural powerhouse.

Unfortunately, the country is also known for chronic political instability and has long been tagged an economic basket case — the direct result of successive populist governments spending beyond their means, and getting others to foot the bill for their mismanagement.

Messy politics and economic emergencies are all too common in Argentina. But after Sunday's midterm elections, Argentines can expect an especially rocky next two years.

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