Tags: Kirchner argentina

Kirchner Helped Argentina Out of Financial Crisis

Thursday, 28 Oct 2010 07:01 AM


BOGOTA, COLOMBIA - Nestor Kirchner, an Argentine power broker who as president from 2003 to 2007 helped guide his country out of a calamitous economic crisis, died Oct. 27 after an apparent heart attack.

Mr. Kirchner, 60, was at his weekend retreat in El Calafate, a resort city in southern Argentina, when he was stricken and rushed to the hospital.

His death plunged South America's second-largest country into political uncertainty, because he had been expected to run for the presidency next year, with many political analysts predicting victory, The Washington Post reports.

"Nestor Kirchner was such an obvious choice in the next presidential election that this just throws the deck of cards into the air," said Cynthia Arnson, director of the Latin America program at Washington's Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. "Obviously, there's now going to be tremendous jockeying, but no one commands the national following that he had."

Mr. Kirchner had decided not to seek reelection in 2007 for reasons that were never made clear. He successfully pushed the candidacy of his wife, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who won in a landslide. But Mr. Kirchner was said to wield extraordinary influence on the most important policy decisions. His role in his wife's government had been so important that the Argentine media referred to the executive branch as a dual presidency, or "Los K."

The Kirchners were among the most polarizing leaders in South America, where they were part of a group of leftist leaders elected over the last decade. Beloved by poorer Argentines for expanding social programs, Mr. Kirchner was also reviled as an autocrat who would use the power of the government to weaken rivals.

Read the entire story at washingtonpost.com

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