Cristina Fernández de Kirchner

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Cristina Elisabet Fernández de Kirchner
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
President of Argentina
Assumed office

December 10, 2007

Vice President Julio Cobos
Preceded by Néstor Kirchner

In office25 May 2003 – 10 December 2007
Preceded by Hilda de Duhalde
Succeeded by Néstor Kirchner

In officeDecember 10, 2005November 28, 2007

In office

December 10, 2001December 10, 2005

In office

December 10, 1995December 3, 1997

In office

December 10, 1997 – December 10, 2001

Born 19 February 1953 (1953-02-19) (age 55)La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina[1]
Political party FPV


Spouse Néstor Kirchner
Children Máximo Kirchner

Florencia Kirchner

Alma mater National University of La Plata
Profession Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholic

Cristina Elisabet Fernández de Kirchner (born February 19, 1953), commonly known as Cristina Fernández or Cristina Kirchner, is an Argentine lawyer and politician from the Justicialist Party and the current President of Argentina. She is the wife of former President of Argentina Néstor Kirchner. Before assuming the presidency she was a Senator for Buenos Aires Province and acted as First Lady during her husband’s term.

In the October 2007 general election, Fernández ran for President of Argentina, representing the ruling Front for Victory party. She won the presidency with 45.29% of the vote, and a 22% lead over her nearest rival—one of the widest margins obtained by a candidate since democracy returned in 1983—avoiding the need for a runoff election.[2] She is Argentina’s second female president (after Isabel Martínez de Perón), but the first to be elected. Sworn in on December 10, 2007, she became the first wife in history to be elected to succeed her husband as a president. Néstor Kirchner has also become the first First Gentleman in Argentine history.



[edit] Early life

Cristina Elisabet Fernández was born in La Plata, province of Buenos Aires, daughter of Eduardo Fernández (of Spanish heritage) and Ofelia Esther Wilhelm (of German heritage). She studied law at the National University of La Plata during the 1970s. During her studies there she met her future spouse, Néstor. They married on March 9, 1975 and had two children: Máximo and Florencia.[3] Florencia received international media attention during early 2008 when she started keeping a Fotolog.[4][5][6]

[edit] Political career

Kirchner started her political career in the Peronist Youth movement of the Justicialist Party in the 1970s. During the period of authoritarian rule in the country she and Néstor dropped out of politics and practised law in Río Gallegos. She picked up politics again in the late 1980s, and was elected to the Santa Cruz provincial legislature in 1989, a position to which she was re-elected in 1993.

In 1995 she was elected to represent Santa Cruz in the Senate, and in 1997 in the Chamber of Deputies. In 2001 she won again a seat in the Senate.

Kirchner provided the main backbone to her husband’s successful campaign for the presidency in 2003, against two other Justicialist candidates and several other competitors. In the April 27, 2003 presidential election first round, former president Carlos Saúl Menem won the greatest number of votes (25%), but failed to get the votes necessary to win an overall majority. A second-round run-off vote between Menem and second-place finisher Néstor Kirchner was scheduled for May 18. Feeling certain that he was about to face a resounding electoral defeat, Menem decided to withdraw his candidacy, thus automatically making Kirchner the new president, with 21.97% of the votes (the lowest number in the history of the country).[7]

Cristina Kirchner (on the right) next to U.S. First Lady Laura Bush, on 5 November 2005, during the state visit of the Bushes for the Mar del Plata Summit of the Americas.

Cristina Kirchner (on the right) next to U.S. First Lady Laura Bush, on 5 November 2005, during the state visit of the Bushes for the Mar del Plata Summit of the Americas.

During her husband’s term, Cristina Kirchner became an itinerant ambassador for his government. Her highly combative speech style polarized Argentine politics, recalling the style of Eva Perón. Although she repeatedly rejected the comparison later, Cristina once said in an interview that she identified herself “with the Evita of the hair in a bun and the clenched fist before a microphone” (the typical image of Eva Perón during public speeches) more than with the “miraculous Eva” of her mother’s time, who had come “to bring work and the right to vote for women”.[8][9][10]

She was the main candidate for Senator of the Front for Victory faction of her party in the province of Buenos Aires, for the October 2005 elections, in a heated campaign directed mainly against Hilda González de Duhalde, the wife of former interim president Eduardo Duhalde. Kirchner won the elections by a 25% margin over González.

[edit] Election to Presidency of Argentina

President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, with her husband Néstor, the ex-president of Argentina 2007-10-28.

President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, with her husband Néstor, the ex-president of Argentina 200710-28.

With Kirchner leading all the pre-election polls by a wide margin, her challengers were trying to force her into a run-off. She needed either more than 45% of the vote, or 40% of the vote and a lead of more than 10% over her nearest rival, to win outright. The legality of her presidential bid funding was later disputed when U.S federal prosecutors alleged that the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez secretly tried to funnel nearly $1 million in cash to her campaign,[11] while these allegations were vehemently denied by both the Argentinian and Venezuelan governments.[12]

Kirchner finally won the election in the first round with 45.29% of the vote, followed by 22% for Elisa Carrió (candidate for the Civic Coalition) and 16% for former Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna. Eleven others split the remaining 15%.[13] Fernández was popular among the suburban working class and the rural poor, while Carrió received more support from the urban middle class.[14] Of note, Fernández lost the election in the three largest cities (Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Rosario), although she won in most other places elsewhere, including the large provincial capitals such as Mendoza and Tucumán.[15]

The president elect began a four-year term on December 10, 2007, facing challenges including inflation, union demands for higher salaries, private investment in key areas, lack of institutional credibility (exemplified by the controversy surrounding the national statistics bureau, INDEC), utility companies demanding authorization to raise their fees, low availability of cheap credit to the private sector, and the upcoming negotiation of the defaulted foreign debt with the Paris Club.[16][17][18]

[edit] Cabinet

The President in a meeting with her Ministers.

The President in a meeting with her Ministers.

On November 14, Cristina Kirchner announced the names of her new cabinet, which started working with her on December 10. Of the 12 ministers appointed, seven were already ministers in Néstor Kirchner‘s government whilst the other five took office for the first time.[19]

The Presidential Standard of Argentina

Chiefdom of Cabinet and Ministries

of the Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s Government

Office Name Term
Chief of Ministers Cabinet Alberto Fernández December 10, 2007incumbent
Ministry of Interior Florencio Randazzo December 10, 2007incumbent
Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

International Trade and Worship

Jorge Taiana December 10, 2007incumbent
Ministry of Defense Nilda Garré December 10, 2007incumbent
Ministry of Economy and Production Martín Lousteau

Carlos Fernández

December 10, 2007April 24, 2008 [20]

April 25, 2008incumbent

Ministry of Federal Planning,

Public Investment and Services

Julio de Vido December 10, 2007incumbent
Ministry of Justice,

Security and Human Rights

Aníbal Fernández December 10, 2007incumbent
Ministry of Work,

Labour and Social Security

Carlos Tomada December 10, 2007incumbent
Ministry of Health and Environment Graciela Ocaña December 10, 2007incumbent
Ministry of Social Development Alicia Kirchner December 10, 2007incumbent
Ministry of Education Juan Carlos Tedesco December 10, 2007incumbent
Ministry of Science,

Technology and Productive Innovation

Lino Barañao December 10, 2007incumbent

[edit] Presidency

President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, with Venezuela's president Hugo Chávez 2008-03-05.

President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, with Venezuela’s president Hugo Chávez 200803-05.

During the first days of her presidency, Argentina’s relations with the United States deteriorated as a result of allegations made by a United States assistant attorney of illegal campaign contributions, case known as the maletinazo (suitcase scandal). According to these allegations, agents tried to pressure a Venezuelan-American citizen (Guido Alejandro Antonini Wilson) to lie about the origin of $790,550 in cash found in his suitcase on August 4, 2007 at a Buenos Aires airport. U.S. prosecutors said the money was sent to help Fernández’s presidential campaign.

Fernández de Kirchner and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, called the allegations “a trashing operation” and part of a conspiracy orchestrated by the United States to divide Latin American nations. On December 19, 2007 she restricted the U.S. ambassador’s activities and limited his meetings to Foreign Ministry officials; a treatment reserved for hostile countries, in the opinion of a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State. [21] [22] [23] However, on January 31, during a special meeting with the Argentine President, the United States ambassador in Argentina, Earl Anthony Wayne, clarified that the allegations “were never made by the United States government”, and the dispute cooled down.[24]

Elisa Carrió and María Estenssoro, both high ranking members of the main opposition parties, have claimed that the Argentine government’s response to the allegations and its criticism of the US are a “smokescreen” and described US involvement in the affair as merely symptomatic, alleging that corruption in the Argentinean and Venezuelan governments are the root cause of the scandal.[25]

In March 2008, Fernández de Kirchner’s government introduced a new sliding-scale taxation system for agricultural exports, effectively raising levies on soybean exports to 44 percent from 35 percent at the time of the announcement. [26]. It should be noted that taxing agricultural exports for any more than 30% is unconstitutional. This led to a nationwide lockout by farming associations, starting on March 12, with the aim of forcing the government to back down on the new taxation scheme. As a result, on March 25 thousands of demonstrators banging pots massed around the obelisk in the capital and in front of the presidential palace. Protests extended across the country. In Buenos Aires, hours after Fernández attacked farmers for their two-week strike and “abundant” profits, there were violent incidents between government supporters and protesters, and the police was accused of wilfully turning a blind eye.[27] The media was harshly critical of Luis D’Elia, a former government official who took part in the incidents, with some media sources and members of the opposition (notably Elisa Carrió), claiming that he and his followers had violently suppressed the protest pursuant to the government’s orders. [28] [29][30]

On April 1 the government organised a rally during which thousands of pro-government protesters marched through downtown Buenos Aires in support of the Argentine leadership. Fernández recently called on farmers to act “as part of a country, not as owners of a country”.[31]

A poll-result published in the Spanish newspaper El Pais (Spain’s most widely-circulated daily newspaper) revealed that, following the protests, Fernández’s approval rating had “plummeted” from 57.8% at the start of her administration [32] to an unprecedented 23%.[33] .

A recent poll of Management & Fit, confirms the growing unpopularity of the Fernández administration. This poll was taken between April 27 and April 30, and shows Fernández approval rating at 23.6%, and her disapproval rating at 61.8%, thus becomes the agent with the worst approval index of popular history, and sounding rumors about a possible appeal to a recall referendum on his mandate.[34]

Fernandez’s inflexible handling of the protests and reluctance to review the policies that sparked the protest have reinforced the ongoing suspicion that it is her husband, predecessor in office and current leader of the Justicialist Party, Nestor Kirchner, who pulls the strings behind her administration. The British weekly The Economist has described this situation as Mrs Fernandez “paying the price for her husbands pig headedness”. [35]

[edit] Relationship with the media

In April 2008 Fernández received a stern public rebuke from ADEPA (the Argentine Journalists Association) for having publicly accused the popular cartoonist Hermenegildo Sábat of behaving like a “quasi mafioso”.[36] In addition, a government proposal to create a watchdog to monitor racism and discrimination was received with suspicion by ADEPA, who called it a “covert attempt to control the media”. [37] In 2006, Nestor Kirchner, Fernández’s husband and predecessor in office, received a similar rebuke for publicly and falsely denouncing that Joaquín Morales Solá, a journalist critical of the government, had produced an inflammatory text published in 1978. [38]

[edit] References

  1. ^ (Spanish)Sitio oficial de Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Retrieved on 200711-04.
  2. ^ (Spanish) Cristina Fernández ganó elecciones presidenciales con el 45,29% de los votos. La Tercera. Retrieved on 200711-18.
  3. ^ (Spanish) Senadora Nacional Cristina E. Fernández De Kirchner. República Argentina. Retrieved on 200711-04.
  4. ^ There’s Something About the President’s Daughter. Time. Retrieved on 200811-04.
  5. ^ Wild child’s exposure on web upsets presidential parents. The Guardian. Retrieved on 200811-04.
  6. ^ (Italian) La vita in Rete della 17enne figlia del Presidente. Excite. Retrieved on 200811-04.
  7. ^ (Spanish)Menem y Kirchner disputarán la segunda vuelta el 18 de mayo“, La Nación, April 28, 2003.
  8. ^ (Spanish)‘Me identifico con la Eva del puño crispado’“, Clarín, 27 July 2007.
  9. ^ Rory Carroll and Oliver Balch (26 October 2007). President in waiting evokes echo of Evita. Guardian Unlimited.
  10. ^ James Sturcke (29 October 2007). The art of the possible. Guardian Unlimited.
  11. ^ 4 in Miami held in Argentine campaign scandal. Miami Herald. Retrieved on 200712-12.
  12. ^ Venezuela, Argentina Accuse US of Smear Campaign. Venezuelanalysis. Retrieved on 200712-14.
  13. ^ (Spanish)Cristina se aleja por más de 20 puntos sobre el final del escrutinio“, Clarín, 29 October 2007.
  14. ^A Mixed Message in Argentina’s Vote“, Time, 29 October 2007.
  15. ^ (Spanish) Alpargatas sí, centros urbanos no. Página/12 (1 November 2007).
  16. ^ (Spanish) Los desafíos en el área económica que esperan al próximo gobierno. Página/12 (29 October 2007).
  17. ^ (Spanish)Empresarios contentos por la continuidad del modelo K“, Clarín, 28 October 2007.
  18. ^ (Spanish)Prevén que el desempleo se ubicará en el 8% a fin de año“, La Nación, 24 May 2007.
  19. ^ El nuevo Gabinete: Lousteau va a Economía y De Vido sigue en Planificación Federal (Spanish)
  20. ^ Argentine economy minister resigns. Reuters. Retrieved on 200804-25.
  21. ^ (Spanish) Cristina y Chávez, juntos contra EE.UU. La Nacion. Retrieved on 200712-19.
  22. ^ Argentina Protests Charges, Restricts U.S. Ambassador. Bloomberg. Retrieved on 200712-20.
  23. ^ Argentina, Venezuela and America. Slush and garbage. The Economist. Retrieved on 200801-03.
  25. ^ Troubles for Argentina’s New Evita. TIME (20 December 2007).
  26. ^ Argentine Soybean Output May Slip; Protests May Pause. Bloomberg (9 March 2008).
  27. ^ La policía observó, pero no intervino. La Nacion (27 March 2008).
  28. ^ Cacería para ganar la Plaza. Fueron golpeados manifestantes que apoyaban el reclamo del campo. La Nacion (26 March 2008).
  29. ^ El verdadero mensaje de las cacerolas. La Nacion (27 March 2008).
  30. ^ Argentina’s Fernández Plays With Fire. The Guardian (01 April 2008).
  31. ^ In Argentina, thousands rally in support of president. Los Angeles Times (2 April 2008).
  32. ^ Positive Rating for Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner. Angus Reid (31 December 2007).
  33. ^ La popularidad de la presidenta argentina se hunde en tres meses. EL PAIS (9 April 2008).
  34. ^ Cristina Kirchner’s Rating plummets in Argentina. Angus Reid Global Monitor (9 May 2008).
  35. ^ Cristina in the land of make believe. The Economist (1 May 2008).
  36. ^ Libertad de prensa y democracia. Clarin (4 April 2006).
  37. ^ Cuestionamiento de las entidades periodísticas. La Nacion (8 April 2008).
  38. ^ ADEPA pide prudencia al presidente de la Nación. ADEPA (2 October 2006).

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