Who he was: Nestor Carlos Kirchner was president of Argentina from 25 May 2003 until 10 December 2007 and was a member of the Front for Victory (Justicialist Party). Following a deep economic crisis, Kirchner's tenure as president began when he automatically won the election because his very unpopular opponent stepped down, even though Kirchner had secured only 22 percent of the vote.
To address the country's economic problems Kirchner forced changes in the Argentina's Supreme Court and appointed assistants and ministers who were more left-leaning, closer to his philosophy, than had been in place previously. Argentina's default on its $178 billion debt led the International Monetary Fund to negotiate an agreement to reschedule approximately half of the debt. Kirchner would later criticize the IMF for failing to collaborate with Argentina's recovery. Kirchner rejected the Free Trade Area of the Americas and distanced his government from the US.
At the end of his presidency Kirchner was supported by 60 percent of Argentinians polled, but announced he would create a new political party rather than run for re-election. Nestor Kirchner's wife, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, was elected president to succeed him.
Following his presidency Nestor Kirchner served as Deputy of Argentina, Buenos Aires Province from December 2009 until October 2010 and then Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations from May 2010 until October 2010
Kirchner had previously served as governor of Santa Cruz Province from December 1991 until he became president in 2003 and Mayor of Rio Gallegos, his hometown, from 1987 to 1991.
Background: Nestor Carlos Kirchner was born 25 February 1950 in Rio Gallegos, in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, Argentina. Nestor's father, also named Nestor, was a post office official of Swiss-German descent and his mother, Maria Juana Ostoic Dragnic, is Chilean of Croatian descent.
Nestor Kirchner attended local public schools, graduating high school from the Colegio Nacional Republica de Guatemala, in Argentina. In 1969 Kirchner traveled to La Plata to study law at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata. While at university Kirchner joined peronist student unions and favored the return of Juan Domingo Peron's return to Argentina. Kirchner graduated law school in 1976, and whom he married Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, also a lawyer, six months later. The couple has two children, Maximo Kirchner and Florencia Kirchner.
Kirchner died of heart failure on 27 October 2010 in El Calafate, Santa Cruz, Argentina at the age of 60. It had been assumed he would run for president in 2011. His awake was held at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires, Casa Rosada, and he was flown to his hometown of Rio Gallegos for burial.