Fernández de Kirchner, Cristina Elisabet

Fernández de Kirchner, Cristina Elisabet krēstēˈnä ālēsäbātˈ fārnänˈdās dā kērchˈnâr [key], 1953–, Argentinian politician. A Peronist student activist in the 1970s, she received (1979) a law degree from the National Univ. of La Plata. There she met Néstor Kirchner, whom she married in 1975 and who, after a varied political career, became (2003) president of Argentina. A member of the Peronist Justicialist party, she was twice elected (1989, 1993) to the Santa Cruz provincial legislature. She was elected to the Argentinian senate in 1995, the chamber of deputies in 1997, and the senate again in 2001 and 2005. The glamorous center-leftist became known for her advocacy of human rights and women's issues and, in her later terms, for her active support of her husband's policies. During his presidency, she was an influential adviser to him and acted as unofficial international ambassador for Argentina. In 2007 he announced he would not seek a second term and declared his support for his wife as his successor. She was elected later that year, pledging to continue her husband's programs, and easily won a second term in 2011, a year after her husband had died. Her tenure, particularly her second term, was marked by increasing economic difficulties, including high inflation and a lack of access to international credit markets. She subsequently faced investigations and charges concerning corruption and irregular currency transactions by the central bank, concerning an alleged coverup of Iranian involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center, and concerning a bribery scheme involving public works contracts. In 2017 she launched a new party, Citizens' Unity, that subsequently became the third-largest party in the congress, and she won a seat in the senate. Running with Alberto Fernández in 2019, she was elected vice president of Argentina.

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