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Argentina

Kirchner swept to power in landslide victory

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner holds a picture of herself and  late husband while celebrating her victory in Argentina's presidential election.
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner holds a picture of herself and late husband while celebrating her victory in Argentina's presidential election. REUTERS/Martin Acosta

President Cristina Kirchner celebrated a landslide re-election victory in Argentine elections Monday, on the back of booming economic growth and sympathy a year after the death of her husband.

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“I’m the first woman to be re-elected president. I don’t want anything more,” she said in an emotional speech in Buenos Aires, after partial results gave her more than 53 percent.

Her closest rival, Hermes Binner, won 17 percent, according to the results from Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo, with 64 percent of votes counted.

The 58-year-old incumbent has risen in the polls since losing a fierce battle with soya farmers over taxes in 2008, aided by high prices for farm exports in the vast nation of 40 million.

She pushed forward with popular social programs started by her husband when he took office in 2003, including for pensions and child benefit as well as subsidies for transport and utilities.

Nestor Kirchner had been expected to stand for another four-year term before he died.

Nestor Kirchner was credited with lifting the country out of its financial meltdown of 2001 by restructuring massive debts and promoting spending.

He cut off talks with the International Monetary Fund after Argentina defaulted on almost ê100 billion in foreign debts.

Glamorous and known for her sharp tongue, Kirchner has shown a more consensual style, making efforts to improve relations with key sectors like industry and agriculture.

She needed just 40 percent to win if her nearest rival was more than 10 points behind, or 45 percent for an outright win.

Many Argentines see Kirchner’s policies as the safest bet for the economy amid uncertainty in Europe and the United States.
 

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