Fernández de Kirchner, Cristina Elisabet (krēstēˈnä ālēsäbātˈ fārnänˈdās dā kērchˈnâr) [key], 1953–, Argentinian politician. A Peronist student activist in the 1970s, she received (1979) a law degree from the National Univ. of La Plata. There she met Néstor Kirchner, whom she married in 1975 and who, after a varied political career, became (2003) president of Argentina. A member of the Peronist Justicialist party, she was twice elected (1989, 1993) to the Santa Cruz provincial legislature. She was elected to the Argentinian senate in 1995, the chamber of deputies in 1997, and the senate again in 2001 and 2005. The glamorous center-leftist became known for her advocacy of human rights and women's issues and, in her later terms, for her active support of her husband's policies. During his presidency, she was an influential adviser to him and acted as unofficial international ambassador for Argentina. In 2007 he announced he would not seek a second term and declared his support for his wife as his successor. She was elected later that year, pledging to continue her husband's programs, and easily won reelection in 2011.
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