Latin America & Caribbean

Fernandez exits Argentine presidency amid war of words

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner gestures to supporters (9 December 2015) Image copyright AFP
Image caption Ms Fernandez addressed her supporters as president for one last time on Wednesday night

"Nothing in her presidency became her like the leaving it", as Shakespeare didn't write.

Outgoing Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's final days in office have been rather marred by a spat with her replacement, Mauricio Macri, over the procedures for his inauguration.

Rather than exiting the presidential stage gracefully, Ms Fernandez has been embroiled in a war of words with the incoming administration and will not be present at the ceremony on Thursday.

In an emotional address on Wednesday night, Ms Fernandez joked: "I can't talk much because after midnight I'll turn into a pumpkin."

She was referring to a court injunction - sought by Mr Macri's team because of the inauguration dispute - which established that Ms Fernandez's term ended at midnight on Wednesday and not on Thursday after her successor's inauguration.


'Not your birthday party'

As the conflict over the inauguration heated up, Ms Fernandez published a lengthy open letter (in Spanish) on 6 December.

She accused Mr Macri of shouting at her on the phone and said that this was not appropriate as a man speaking to a woman.

She sought to remind him of three things, she wrote:

  • "I am not your partner"
  • "The 10 December [inauguration] is not your birthday party"
  • "I will not continue to tolerate personal and public mistreatment"

Password reset?

Ms Fernandez was preceded in office by her late husband Nestor Kirchner, whose came to power in 2003.

This means that a Kirchner has been in the top job since before either Facebook or Twitter were created - and it would now appear that Ms Fernandez's team are reluctant to hand over the passwords for the social media accounts of the Argentine presidency.

The official Twitter account, @CasaRosadaAR (meaning Pink House Argentina, a reference to the presidential palace) now describes itself as a "Twitter tribute" to the presidencies of Ms Fernandez and her late husband, Nestor Kirchner - and "not official from 10 December 2015".

Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Facebook

The Casa Rosada Facebook account also now describes itself as the Facebook homepage of the Kirchner presidencies - "not official".


Tears for her?

Mr Macri beat Ms Fernandez's chosen successor by a slim margin, and many supporters at Ms Fernandez's rally on Wednesday night were very sad to see her go.

Image copyright Reuters

But other Argentines were happy at the end of the Kirchner era, with #ChauCristina (ciao, or bye, Cristina) trending on Twitter.


Legacy

Ms Fernandez was barred by Argentina's constitution from standing for a third consecutive term as president - but she will be free to stand again next time.

One of her actions on her last day as president was to unveil a bust of her late husband at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires.

Image copyright AFP

Nestor Kirchner served just one term - and it was widely thought that he handed over power to his wife in order to get round the limits on consecutive terms.

As he died unexpectedly in 2010, that project came to an end.

It is not clear where Ms Fernandez's future lies, but no one expects her to slip into a quiet retirement.

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