Argentinas former president, Cristina Fernndez de Kirchner, has formed centre-left party and will run for key seat that populous Buenos Aires province

Argentinas former president, Cristina Fernndez de Kirchner, has formally launched her bid for a Senate seat in Octobers mid-term elections in a race that will determine whether President Mauricio Macri can deepen his free-market reforms.

Fernndezs run, confirmed by a spokesman, comes a little over a week after she formed a new centre-left party independent of Peronism, Argentinas dominant political movement that she has belonged to for decades.

While Fernndez enjoys strong support from many who consider her a champion of the poor, her break with Peronism divides the opposition and could help Macris coalition make a strong showing in October.

Fernndez will be competing for a seat representing the populous province of Buenos Aires, home to 40% of the countrys voters and closely watched as a defining race.

Her political ally Daniel Scioli, a former governor of Buenos Aires who lost the 2015 presidential election to Macri, will also run for a Senate seat in the province, the spokesman said.

Fernndez dubbed Queen Cristina by her supporters implemented generous welfare programmes, nationalised businesses and imposed currency controls as president of Latin Americas third largest economy between 2007 and 2015.

Last year she was indicted on charges she ran a corruption scheme with a public works secretary who was arrested a year ago while trying to stash millions of dollars in a convent. A position in Congress would give her immunity from arrest, though not from trial. Fernndez dismisses the accusations as politically motivated.

While Octobers legislative elections are not expected to change the balance of power in Congress, where no party has a majority, they are seen as a barometer of current support for Macri, who could seek reelection in 2019.

Opinion polls have shown mixed results for the race in which a third of the Senate and almost half of the Chamber of Deputies will be elected.

With Reuters

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Argentinas ‘Queen Cristina’ seeks return to politics with Senate bid