Kirchner, Néstor Carlos

Kirchner, Néstor Carlos

(nā`stôr kär`lōs kērch`nâr), 1950–2010, Argentinean politician. A native of Patagonia, he was a lawyer and left-wing Peronist and, after two brief imprisonments, was in private practice during the 1976–83 military dictatorship. Elected mayor of his native Río Gallegos in 1987, he ran for the governorship of Santa Cruz prov. in 1991 and won. He was reelected in 1995 and 1999. In 2003 the relatively unknown Kirchner mounted a campaign for the Argentinean presidency, securing the office after he narrowly lost the first round and the unpopular former president Carlos MenemMenem, Carlos Saúl
, 1930–, president of Argentina (1989–99). A Peronist (see Juan Domingo Perón), he served as governor of La Rioja (1973–76, 1983–89). Imprisoned during the 1976 coup, he was released in 1981.
..... Click the link for more information.
 withdrew from the runoff. Kirchner became the first native of Patagonia to be elected Argentina's president.

In office Kirchner negotiated improved terms for Argentina's burdensome debt and benefited from an improving economy; at the same time, railroads, telecommunications companies, and some other firms were nationalized. He also ended the amnesty that had protected members of the military accused of human-rights abuses during the dictatorship. In 2007 he declined to run for another term and declared his support for the presidential candidacy of his wife, Cristina Fernández de KirchnerFernández de Kirchner, Cristina Elisabet
, 1953–, Argentinian politician. A Peronist student activist in the 1970s, she received (1979) a law degree from the National Univ. of La Plata.
..... Click the link for more information.
, who won the subsequent election. He remained influential behind the scenes both in the government and Peronist party. In 2009 Kirchner was elected to the National Congress but placed second in the proportional balloting; he had run in an attempt to rally voter support for his wife's presidency and his party. He was named secretary-general of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) in 2010, but died suddenly six months later.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/