Nestor Kirchner, former president, dies in Argentina
Nestor Kirchner, the former president of Argentina and husband of the current president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, has died suddenly of a heart attack. Kirchner was rushed to a hospital in the city of El Calafate with his wife at his side, and was pronounced dead by Wednesday morning. He was 60.
The former president's passing shocked the country and plunged the future of Argentina's complex political world into doubt as presidential elections approach next year. Kirchner, who served as president between 2003 and 2007, was expected to be the ruling party's candidate in the 2011 elections. He would have assumed the presidency from his wife if elected.
A political boss with unrivaled unofficial power, Kirchner was also secretary-general of the Union of South American Nations at the time of his death. His passing caused a spike in Argentine stocks this morning as investors speculated that the economy would stabilize and government spending would drop.
Social networking sites were already calling for a mass public memorial at the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Pagina 12 reported (link in Spanish). Readers can follow more local coverage in Spanish as the day progresses at Pagina 12 and Clarin.
-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City
Photo: Nestor Kirchner, former president of Argentina. Credit: Clarin.com