Argentina's Fernandez has hematoma cut

2013-10-08 19:25
Argentine President, Cristina Kirchner. (File, AFP)

Argentine President, Cristina Kirchner. (File, AFP)

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Buenos Aires - Argentine President Cristina Fernandez had surgery on Tuesday to remove blood from the surface of her brain, sidelining her three weeks ahead of a key mid-term election and at the apex of a rancorous court battle with the nation's "holdout" creditors.

The president's condition, described as a subdural hematoma, came from hitting her head in a fall in August. The operation, from which she is expected to fully recover, involves draining blood that has pooled between the brain and the skull.

On Saturday she was told to rest for a month due to her condition. The surgery was announced on Monday after the 60-year-old leader complained of tingling in her left arm.

Supporters, some carrying signs that said "Hang In There Cristina" and "The Country Is With You," gathered outside the Fundacion Favaloro hospital, where the surgery was being conducted.

The operation comes at a sensitive time for her administration, with Argentines griping about double-digit inflation and government-imposed currency controls that have clamped down on access to US dollars as part of an effort to halt capital flight.

The president's policies promote economic growth at the cost of inflation clocked by private economists at about 25% per year, one of the highest rates in the world.

When she became ill on Saturday, Fernandez was in campaign mode, making speeches on behalf of political allies running in the 27 October mid-term primary, an election that will determine whether her coalition remains in control of Congress in her final two years as leader of the grains-exporting country.

Fernandez, who was re-elected in 2011 on promises of increasing the role of government in Latin America's No 3 economy, is also embroiled in a legal battle against holdout bond investors who declined to participate in Argentina's 2005 and 2010 debt restructuring and are suing for full repayment.

The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a preliminary appeal filed by Argentina in the case, which could go on for another year after more than a decade of bouncing around the US federal courts.

World markets are watching the case for the implications it might have on future sovereign debt restructuring.

The International Monetary Fund has voiced fear that if Argentina is forced to pay the holdouts the $1.3bn they are demanding, it would make it more difficult for cash-strapped countries to renegotiate their bond obligations.

Read more on:    imf  |  cristina fernandez  |  argentina  |  health

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