Profile: Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner secured re-election as president of Argentina in October 2011 with a landslide victory.
It was in many ways a dramatic turnaround for Ms Fernandez, whose first term was beset by rows and low approval ratings.
It was also a personal triumph for the president, a year after the death of her husband and successor in the post, Nestor Kirchner.
They made a formidable team and were often described as Argentina's power couple.
His death robbed President Fernandez of her closest political confidant.
Cristina, as the majority of Argentines call her, has often been described as a strong-willed woman, obsessed with her image. But she is also a politician with a long track-record.
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was born 19 February, 1953, in La Plata, the capital of the province of Buenos Aires, where she graduated in law.
She married Mr Kirchner, whom she met at university in 1975. A year later, the couple went to live in his home region, the southern province of Santa Cruz.
At the end of the 1980s, she embarked on her political career, first as a provincial then as a national deputy.
But it was her husband who rose through the Peronist ranks.
In 1991, Mr Kirchner was elected governor of Santa Cruz. He won two more terms, while Cristina supported him as a deputy.'Wives' duel'
When Mr Kirchner took office as president in 2003 - in the midst of one of the worst economic and social crises in the country - a similar pattern emerged.
By then Cristina Fernandez was a senator with her own political weight in Congress, where she actively supported her husband's policies that included boosting social spending.
Cristina cemented her political position in the congressional elections of 2005.
Taking 46% of the votes, she won in the province of Buenos Aires in a contest dubbed "the wives' duel", beating her main rival, Hilda Gonzalez, the wife of the former President Eduardo Duhalde (2002-2003).
During Mr Kirchner's administration, there was almost no decision taken in which she did not have a say, her influence exceeding that of an ordinary lawmaker.
She was also the first senator to have an office within the presidential palace, provoking criticism from the opposition.
The governing party insisted that the office was small and was hers by virtue of her position as first lady.
Occupying the presidential palace, the Casa Rosada, in her own right, President Fernandez has broadly continued her husband's policies.
There have been further moves to address human rights abuses of the past. Argentina also became the first country in Latin America to legalise same-sex marriages.
Under her, Argentina renewed contacts with the International Monetary Fund after years of hostility and moved to renew negotiations over paying Argentina's debts to the Paris Club of lender nations.
While Argentina has recovered from the economic woes of the early 2000s, there is persistent, and under-reported, high inflation and many Argentines still live in poverty.
President Fernandez has also been frequently at odds with the nation's powerful agricultural sector.
Cristina Fernandez has been, perhaps inevitably, compared to Eva Peron, Argentina's legendary first lady who formed a formidable ruling partnership with her husband Juan Domingo Peron in the late 1940s and early 50s.
But Evita was never elected. Cristina Fernandez, by contrast, was the country's first elected female president.
"I have the honour to be the first woman to be re-elected in the country. What more could I want," President Fernandez told supporters after her victory on 23 October .