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AP: First Lady Making History – In Argentina

From an elated Associated Press:


First lady making history in Argentina

By NIKO PRICE, Associated Press Writer Mon Oct 29

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – President Nestor Kirchner and first lady Cristina Fernandez are poised to switch jobs in December, with partial results indicating Argentines elected a female president for the first time and launched their country’s most powerful political dynasty since Juan and Evita Peron.

Fernandez is a lawyer and senator who followed her husband as he rose from an obscure governorship to the presidency, drawing comparisons to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. She would bring a feistier and more glamorous style to the Pink House, Argentina’s presidential palace, in which she has already spent the last four years.

But it is unclear how much change she will bring. Analysts say a strong win gives Fernandez an opportunity to right the problems of her husband’s administration, including high inflation, an energy crisis and a shrinking budget surplus. Some warned her not to see it as an endorsement of all of Kirchner’s policies.

In her victory speech Sunday night, Fernandez, 54, pledged not to let that happen.

“We have won amply,” she said. “But this, far from putting us in a position of privilege, puts us instead in a position of greater responsibilities and obligations.”

With 86 percent of polling places reporting, Fernandez had about 44 percent of the vote, compared with 23 percent for former lawmaker Elisa Carrio and 17 percent for former Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna…

Carrio spokesman Matias Mendez said seven parties had filed a complaint alleging missing or stolen ballots. One representative of the ruling party was arrested on suspicion of trying to vote twice, and a judge extended voting by an hour in the capital because many polling stations opened late

Fernandez ran an unorthodox campaign, refusing to debate and spending much of the time abroad in photo-ops with world leaders. Her chic European dresses and designer bags drew comparisons with Evita Peron, another fashion-conscious and politically influential Argentine first lady.

She would be Argentina’s second female president; Isabel Peron — who married Juan Peron after Evita’s death — was his vice president when he died in 1974, and served for 20 chaotic months before a military coup ousted her.

As for Kirchner, he has said he’ll be happy as “first gentleman” after he hands his wife the presidential sash and scepter on Dec. 10. But few expect him to fade too far into the background — and some even suspect the couple is plotting to reverse roles again in 2011

Boy, is the media loving this story. They can’t wait for “history” to repeat itself here.

But hopefully there are yet some differences between the electorate of our country and that of one with only a very limited history of being a democracy.

Still, it’s hard to argue that with every day that passes our fellow citizens yearn more and more for a benevolent dictatorship.

A constitutional republic just seems to be too much bother.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, October 29th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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