Cristina Elisabet Fernández de Kirchner (Spanish pronunciation: [kɾisˈtina eˈlisaβet ferˈnandes ðe ˈkiɾʃneɾ] ; born 19 February 1953), known as Cristina Kirchner and often referred to by her initials CFK, is the current President of Argentina and widow of former president Néstor Kirchner. She is the second woman to serve as President of Argentina (after Isabel Martínez de Perón, 1974–1976), the first directly elected female president and the first woman re-elected. A member of the Justicialist Party, Fernández served one term as National Deputy and three terms as National Senator for both Santa Cruz and Buenos Aires provinces.
Born in La Plata, Buenos Aires Province, Fernández is a graduate of the National University of La Plata. She met her husband during her studies, and they moved to Santa Cruz to work as lawyers. In May 1991, she was elected to the provincial legislature. Between 1995 and 2007, she was repeatedly elected to the Argentine National Congress, both as a National Deputy and National Senator. During Kirchner’s presidency (2003–2007), she acted as First Lady. Fernández was chosen as the Front for Victory presidential candidate in 2007.
In the October 2007 general election, she obtained 45.3% of the vote and a 22% lead over her nearest rival, avoiding a runoff election. She was inaugurated on 10 December 2007, and was re-elected to a second term in the first round of the October 2011 general election, with 54.1% and 37.3% over the next candidate, Hermes Binner. Kirchner’s critics have claimed her administration exhibits numerous cases of corruption, crony capitalism, falsification of public statistics, harassment of Argentina’s independent media, and use of the tax agency as a censorship tool and use of public funds to attack political opponents.
The media aligned with the government is used to promote a cult of personality over the figures of both Cristina and Néstor Kirchner, who are described as the leaders of a popular left-wing revolution waged against foreign enemies. This advocacy is usually called the “Relato K” (Spanish: K Narrative). Politicians, public people and institutions are treated as “good” or “evil” according to the political needs of the moment. The demonstrations against the government and the criticisms of other political parties are usually described as attempts to make a coup d’état against Cristina Kirchner, as well as the actions of the Vulture funds. The “Relato K” is based on the premise that there are no facts or absolute truths, and that any assertion would be true or false according to the political stance of the speaker towards the government.
The magazine Forbes ranked her as thirteenth in the list of the 100 most powerful women in the world in 2008, at the start of her presidency. She gradually lowered her positions, and as of 2014, she is listed as the #19th.
Cristina Kirchner used widow clothings since the death of Néstor Kirchner in 2010. As this style benefited her personal image among the society, she kept using it for over three years.
In 1973, during her studies at the National University of La Plata, she met her future spouse, Néstor Kirchner. They were married on 9 May 1975, and had two children: Máximo (1977) and Florencia (1990). Néstor Kirchner died on 27 October 2010 after suffering a heart attack.
On 27 December 2011, presidential spokesman Alfredo Scoccimarro announced that Fernández had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer on 22 December and that she would undergo surgery on 4 January 2012. However, it was later released that she had been misdiagnosed and did not have cancer. On 5 October 2013, doctors ordered Fernández to rest for a month after they found blood on her brain, due to a head injury she received on August 8, 2012. Fernández was re-admitted to hospital and had successful surgery on 8 October 2013 to remove blood covering her brain.
Increasingly long periods without public appearances have led to media speculation regarding her health.
In December 2014 she was hospitalised after she broke her ankle.