28 Oct 2010

Former Argentina president Kirchner dies

7:27 am on 28 October 2010

The president of Argentina, Nestor Kirchner, the current president's husband, has died at the age of 60.

The left-leaning Mr Kirchner from the ruling Peronist party was president from 2003 to 2007 and oversaw Argentina's recovery from a devastating economic crisis.

He was considered President Cristina Fernandez's closest advisor and a major power broker in her government and was a contender to succeed her in next year's election.

Mr Kirchner was credited by many Argentinians with putting the economy back on its feet after a devastating 2001/02 economic crisis, but critics reviled his combative style and interventionist economic policies.

When farmers rebelled over a tax hike on soy exports in 2008, he accused them of plotting a coup and told supporters to boycott companies that hiked prices. He increased state control over the economy and nationalized several companies.

Mr Kirchner was still a popular leader when he left the presidency but his approval ratings have since fallen sharply and his wife has emerged as the more popular of the two.

Local media say Mr Kirchner died suddenly of a heart-attack.