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Argentina's Kirchner sworn in for second term
Will begin second four-year term in office as country battles to control runaway inflation while maintaining growth.
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2011 07:03

Cristina Kirchner, the Argentinian president, has been sworn in for her second four-year term, saying that she is intent on bolstering the country's economy by promoting industry and consumer spending.

"Nothing and no one can force us to change course," Kirchner said in her last official comments during her first term as president of the South American nation of 40 million.

At the inauguration in the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires on Saturday, Kirchner pledged to uphold her duties in honour of the constitution, the voters and Nestor Kirchner, her predecessor and husband, who died last year.

"If I don't, then let God, the country and him take me to task for it," the president added, her voice cracking with emotion as she referred to Kirchner.

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered throughout the streets of the capital, particularly on the main avenue leading to the congress, where Kirchner was sworn in.

Those lining the streets were jubilant, and many were banging drums in celebration.

Kirchner, 58, was re-elected on October 23 with 54 per cent of the vote, giving her the strongest mandate an Argentinian president has received since the 1976-83 dictatorship.

Her re-election came in the face of a divided opposition, a situation which allowed her party to win back control of the country's congress and maintain its majority in the upper house of parliament, the senate.

Since then, Kirchner has chosen Juan Manuel Abal Medina as her new cabinet chief and transferred Hernan Lorenzino from his current post as finance secretary to the post of economy minister.

Outgoing economy minister Amado Boudou is Kirchner's new vice-president.

She has kept most of her other key ministers.

Her biggest test will be in the form of the economy, Al Jazeera's Lucia Newman reported from Buenos Aires.

"Argentina ... has one of the highest economic growth rates in the region, but it also has one of the highest inflation rates in the world ... at over 25 per cent. And this is eating away at a lot of the social gains that people have been experiencing over the years," Newman said.

The government has slashed energy and transport subsidies and taken strict measures to curtail capital flight from the country.

Over the last four years, $68 billion in capital has left Argentina, econmists say. $22 billion has left the country this year alone, according to some estimates.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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