Obit

Former Argentine President Dies

Former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, who helped pull the country out of debt during his rule but seriously antagonized investors, died of a heart attack Wednesday at the age of 60. His wife, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, is the current president, but Kirchner’s death could open a “free for all" for power within his party, the Peronists. Economists said Fernandez’s policies are unlikely to change following the death of her husband, who was said to be her closest ally and the force behind her presidency. Kirchner said in July either he or his wife would run for president in the October 2011 elections. Kirchner took office in 2003, in the wake of a $95 billion default on Argentina’s loans. Although the economy grew under his rule, he offered harsh debt repayments and blamed the IMF for the country’s financial difficulties in the 1990s. Despite his reputation overseas, Kirchner remained popular at home.