Latin America & Caribbean

Widowed Argentine President Fernandez in tearful speech

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner resuming her official duties on 1 November
Image caption President Fernandez resumed her official duties on Monday

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has made a tearful TV address, vowing to honour the legacy of her late husband, Nestor Kirchner.

President Fernandez, 57, was speaking less than a week after Mr Kirchner, 60, died of a heart attack.

She thanked Argentines for their love and support, saying this was the most painful moment of her life.

Mr Kirchner, president from 2003 to 2007, was believed to have been preparing to run in the 2011 election.

Many of President Fernandez's supporters are now pushing her to run for re-election, correspondents say.

Argentina's constitution limits presidents to two consecutive terms.

President Fernandez, resuming her official duties on Monday, went on national television to speak to the country for the first time since Mr Kirchner died.

"It's the greatest sadness I've had in my life. It's the loss of the man who was my companion of 35 years, the companion of my life, of struggles, of ideals... a part of me has gone with him."

That part was now in Rio Gallegos, she said, referring to Mr Kirchner's home town where he was laid to rest on Saturday.

She thanked all the Argentines who had sent support, who had prayed and who had cried, including those who turned out for his funeral.

"I want to thank especially the thousands of young people there who sang in their grief, but then marched with joy, for him and for the country," President Fernandez said.

"I want to tell them that, in their faces, I saw his [face] back when I met him," she said, her voice breaking.

Mr Kirchner, who stood aside to allow his wife to stand for president in 2007, had been expected to run once again.

The Kirchners were seen as Argentina's most influential "power couple" since Juan and Eva Peron.

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