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Politics as second act

Economic crisis, corruption spur celebs to join election

On Corrientes, the Broadway of Buenos Aires, Moria Casan and Nito Artaza spend most nights making fun of politicians in the musical “El Fondo puede esperar” (The Fund Can Wait).

Now, they’re seeing it from the other side.

The two are part of a new wave of celebs running in the Oct. 23 congressional election.

Helmers Hector Olivera and Jorge Coscia, who is also prexy of the state film institute Incaa, are also taking a shot at it.

So too are TV host Claudio Morgado and thesps Irma Roy, Norma Argentina, Dorys Del Valle and Luis Brandoni. Francisco De Narvaez, a millionaire who recently bought a large stake in broadcaster America TV, is also in the running.

Why all the interest?

Partly, say observers, it is a reaction to the 2001-02 economic crisis and a popular call for all politicians to get out of Argentina. The 1990s were rife with corruption under Carlos Menem, a limelight-lover who’d entertain visiting stars like Madonna and the Rolling Stones.

The celebs hope to fill the void with fresh proposals and values.

The media is already giving the movement extensive coverage, particularly of Casan, a 55-year-old diva who often makes reference to her curvaceous body.

Casan, who shoots down any comparison to Italian porn-star-turned-legislator Ilona Staller, announced her candidacy on “Susana Ginemenz,” a long-running variety show on top-ranked Telefe, owned by Spain’s Telefonica. It’s watched by 2 million to 3 million people each weeknight — far more than a politician could gather for a rally.

Her campaign could prove a strong draw.

“I like rallies that are entertaining,” Casan says. “I am going to tell people to fight (for their country), and I’m going to end up wrapped in a big (Argentinian) flag while ‘Don’t cry for me, Argentina’ is playing.”

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