Nestor Kirchner dies: Powerful Argentine politician was 60
Nestor Kirchner, the former president of Argentina and husband of the current president, Cristina Fernandez, died today of a heart attack. He was 60.
Mr. Kirchner served as president from 2003 to 2007, when his wife became the country's second female president (after Isabel Martínez de Perón, who served during the mid-1970s).
His sudden death at his home in the Patagonian city of Calafate shocked Argentinians. One of the nation's most influential politicians, he was expected to run for the presidency again in next year's election.
As Argentina's most powerful couple, the Kirchners held a place in the national imagination that recalled the near-mythical Peróns.
"His populist rhetoric fit perfectly into an Argentine political tradition defined by Juan Perón," Washington Post reporter Monte Reel wrote in 2006. "Her gift for reconciling a glamorous personal style with political advocacy for the underclass begged comparisons with Perón's charismatic wife, Eva."
Mr. Kirchner ascended to the presidency as the country was recovering from its 2001 economic collapse. He took on the powerful International Monetary Fund and Argentina's own military, whose dictatorships during the 1970s and 1980s left a legacy of human rights abuses. He also consolidated power, asserting more influence over the judiciary and winning the right to alter the budget without consent from the legislature.
"Kirchner is a man obsessed with power -- getting it, expanding it, then holding on to it," said Walter Curia, an Argentine journalist who published a biography of Kirchner called "The Last Peronist," in a 2006 interview with The Washington Post.
Above, Mr. Kirchner hands over power to his wife during her 2007 swearing-in ceremony. (Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images)
A full obituary will follow.
| October 27, 2010; 10:43 AM ET
Categories: Politics | Tags: how did nestor kirchner die?, nestor kirchner argentina, nestor kirchner cristina fernandez, nestor kirchner died, nestor kirchner dies, nestor kirchner obituary
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