Argentina ex-President Macri says he will not be candidate in upcoming elections

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group C - Poland v Argentina - Stadium 974, Doha, Qatar - November 30, 2022 Former President of Argentina Mauricio Macri REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini/File Photo

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Former Argentine President Mauricio Macri said on Sunday that he will not be a presidential candidate in the country's October general elections, as the opposition coalition moves to confirm its candidates.

The center-right Macri's decision to opt out opens the door wider for other candidates of the opposition coalition "Together for Change," considered the front-runner against the incumbent Peronist-led leftist party of President Alberto Fernandez.

Opposition candidates Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta and former Security Minister Patricia Bullrich applauded Macri's decision not to run.

"I will not be a candidate in the next election," Macri said in a video posted on social media on Sunday.

"I am convinced that we must expand the political space for the change that we initiated," added Macri, who was president from 2015 to 2019 but lost his reelection bid to Fernandez.

Although Macri had previously suggested he would not run for the October elections, other opposition members speculated he would still announce his candidacy.

In the midst of a prolonged economic crisis with 100% annual inflation, nearly half of Argentina's population has been thrust into poverty.

The opposition coalition appears poised to garner more support than the ruling party, which has not yet defined its candidate amid major internal disputes between Fernandez and his Vice President Cristina Fernandez.

(Reporting by Nicolás Misculin, writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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