By Jorge Otaola
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, mayor of Argentine capital Buenos Aires, is set to announce his 2023 presidential election bid, a spokesman for the conservative opposition politician said on Wednesday, as a fragmented field of runners starts to emerge.
Larreta, a 57-year-old economist who has led the city since 2015, will seek to represent the main Together for Change opposition coalition, where he faces likely internal competition from former Minister of Security Patricia Bullrich.
Argentina, a major grains exporter and Latin America's third-largest economy, is headed for crunch elections in October, with the ruling center-left Peronist coalition battling to avoid a heavy defeat as high inflation hammers its support with voters.
The conservatives are hoping to wrest power away from the Peronists, the country's dominant political force for decades, pledging more economic and fiscal responsibility to tame inflation and head off further debt and currency crises.
"It is the confirmation of his candidacy," Larreta's spokesman told Reuters, referring to a scheduled announcement on social networks later on Wednesday, adding that on Thursday there would be a video confirming him as a pre-candidate.
According to local law, primary elections would be held in August while the general election is expected to be held at the end of October, though the exact date has not been fixed by the Electoral Chamber.
The conservative coalition internal race will likely see Larreta take on Bullrich who has long signaled she will be a candidate, as well as former Buenos Aires provincial governor Maria Eugenia Vidal and politician Elisa Carrió.
Argentine President Alberto Fernández has said he wants to seek re-election, while powerful former president and current Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner ruled out being a candidate late last year, though could pull off a surprise.
(Reporting by Jorge Otaola; Writing by Maximilian Heath; Editing by Sharon Singleton)