BUENOS AIRES (AP):
President Cristina Fernandez is being coy about whether she wants to stay in power after her constitutional term ends.
The possibility of 'Cristina Forever' was mentioned a few weeks ago by several mayors, governors and lawmakers who want to run again but can't because of term limits imposed by local constitutions.
Fernandez herself won the second of two four-year terms with 54 per cent of the vote last October, and cannot run for a third consecutive term unless the national constitution is changed.
The president's critics and even a few of her supporters oppose changing the constitution to allow Fernandez to run again in 2015.
"No one is irreplaceable," said conservative Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri, who is among the fiercest critics of Fernandez. He warned against the dangers of "getting embroiled in things of the ego, meanness and individualism".
NO PUBLIC POSITION
But Fernandez, and members of her inner circle, have not taken a public position.
Some political analysts believe that Fernandez needs to have the possibility of a third term floating in the public's consciousness to maintain power.
"This is a political strategy by the president to survive politically," said journalist and political analyst Ignacio Fidanza, who runs a political website.
"The subject of a possible third term for Fernandez arises because she needs it as a defence: she needs the threat of her permanence in power to maintain discipline among the Peronists."
Fernandez has headed the left wing of the Peronist party since the death of her husband and predecessor Nestor Kirchner, who was president from 2003-2007. She currently does not have a clear successor who could replace her in three years.
Fernandez has not made her intentions clear. A few months ago she said she was "tired" of the duties that come with her office.
At a public event last Thursday, she told the audience: "Do not worry, I will be wherever I need to be, and I will continue to do what I have always done, which is to participate and work."