Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has been forced to take a month off following the diagnosis of a brain condition.
The leader was admitted to a Buenos Aires clinic on Saturday for a routine cardiovascular check-up when, according to an official statement, she also complained of a severe headache. Tests revealed that she had a chronic subdural haematoma – blood on the brain – apparently due to a knock on the head she received on August 12.
Fernandez de Kirchner, 60, spent ten hours in the clinic and was told by doctors she would need to take time off. The vice president, Amado Boudou, was immediately called back from an official visit to Brazil and will reportedly take over the presidency during her rest period. At the time of going to press there was still no official confirmation.
The president’s head injury occurred a day after the government’s poor performance in national primaries, essentially a test-run for mid-term elections on October 27 which will decide control of Congress. The news immediately called into question Fernandez de Kirchner’s ability to play an active role in campaigning prior to voting at the end of the month.
The governor of Buenos Aires province and government ally, Daniel Scioli, told Radio Mitre that, although Fernandez de Kirchner may not be able to take part in some acts, “her projects, her ideas, her leadership [and] her initiatives are present in each and every one of the candidates.”
The trials and tribulations of the leader’s health have been the constant source of headlines in the Argentinean media. Fernandez de Kirchner, in power since 2007, suffers from chronic hypertension and had to cancel two days of work last year. Since 2009, she has also cancelled official trips to Venezuela, Cuba and Paraguay following medial advice.
In 2012, the president took 20 days away from office following an operation to remove thyroid glands, widely reported as being cancerous at the time. Later studies proved the initial diagnosis to be incorrect. Her husband and former president Nestor Kirchner died of a heart attack in 2010.
Electric guitar-playing, Harley Davidson-riding vice president Amado Boudou was once seen as Fernandez de Kirchner’s heir apparent but a high profile illicit enrichment scandal and the opposition’s attempt to impeach him have seen him fall out of favour. The next presidential elections, in which Fernandez de Kirchner cannot stand, will be held in 2015.
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