The Who2 Blog

Kirchner & Kirchner, Tag-Team Presidents

Imagine if Bill Clinton had stepped down in 1996 so that his wife Hillary could be elected to replace him.

Then suppose that Bill was elected again in 2000, and Hillary again in 2004 — with Hillary now in year 15 of a Clinton White House.

Argentina is on stage two of that scenario right now: charismatic First Lady Cristina Fernández Kirchner has just been sworn in to replace her husband, Néstor Kirchner, as president.

Néstor Kirchner was elected in 2003. His decision to make way for his wife after one term is widely seen as an attempt to set up a Kirchner-Kirchner-Kirchner-Kirchner four-bagger administration, which could run through 2019. Argentina, like the U.S., allows citizens to hold the office of president for two terms.

Cristina Kirchner isn’t an average First Lady. She’s been a member of Argentina’s senate since 1995 and has been active in politics since she met her husband in law school in the 1970s. They are often called “the Clintons of Argentina.” (They’re also called “the penguins”, a salute to their chilly Southern province of Santa Cruz.)

The BBC, oddly, calls the inauguration “a very feminine affair.” (Though Argentina’s executive mansion is called Casa Rosada, the Pink House.)

Néstor Kirchner will now be called the First Gentleman of Argentina.

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