Argentina's Kirchner launches party for Senate bid

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Buenos Aires (AFP)

Argentina's leftist ex-president Cristina Kirchner launched a new party Tuesday to fight in legislative elections, raising speculation she might make a dramatic return to politics despite facing corruption charges.

A crowd of some 40,000 supporters yelled "Cristina for senator!" at a rally to launch her new Citizen Union party at a football stadium in south Buenos Aires.

Candidates have until Saturday to register to run in the elections on October 22.

A run by Kirchner, 64, would be a headline-grabbing headache for conservative President Mauricio Macri.

Her final decision on whether to run reportedly could depend on the outcome of strategic negotiations with some of her centrist rivals.

Macri was elected in 2015 after Kirchner ended her term following 12 years of leftist government.

At Tuesday's rally she would only promise to "join in like everyone else" in the legislative effort to oppose Macri's reforms.

Kirchner is being investigated over three sets of corruption charges and faces trial in a fourth case of alleged financial mismanagement as president.

She denies wrongdoing and says the cases are politically motivated.

She has fiercely criticized Macri's budget cuts. He says they are strengthening the economy but his critics say they are hurting the poor.

A third of Argentines are living in poverty, according to a study by Argentina Catholic University.