Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has been re-elected president of Argentina in a landslide victory, buoyed by strong economic foundation in the Latin American country.
Fernandez trounced her opponents, gaining almost 54 percent of the electorate – her closest challenger, Socialist Hermes Binner polled only 17 percent.
The victory comes just a year after the death of her husband, former president Nestor Kirchner.
Nelson Kirchner was president from 2003 to 2007, when his wife ran and won.
At a victory celebration in Buenos Aires, Fernandez, 58, told a huge crowd of supporters: Count on me to continue pursuing the project. All I want is to keep collaborating ... to keep Argentina growing. I want to keep changing history.
She also referred to her late spouse during her speech: This is a strange night for me. This man who transformed Argentina led us all and gave everything he had and more. Without him, without his valour and courage, it would have been impossible to get to this point.
Of more urgent importance, the Congress, which Fernandez lost control of during mid-term 2009 elections, may again fall under her party’s control.
According to reports, Fernandez’ popularity is based on strong exports that Argentina is enjoying, particularly such highly-priced products as soya. She has also carried out populist programs, including benefits for the country’s poorest children.
Now re-elected to a second four-year term, Fernandez has witnessed a dramatic reversal of fortune – after her first in power, in 2008, her popularity had sunk to just 20 percent following bitter disputes with the nation’s farmers over export tax rates.
Since that time, Fernandez has benefitted from a strengthening economy and, according to some analysts, weak and fragmented opposition.
Graciela Romer, director of market research company Romer and Associates, told BBC: There are good economic prospects and there is a perception that there is a better quality of life. Unemployment has also gone down and there are subsidies which have boosted consumption levels in the country. Although she is clearly popular with the poor, people in the middle and upper middle classes have also benefited from the economy's performance.”
Meanwhile, Argentina’s economy, which surged 9 percent last year , is expected to gain 8 percent this year. However, rising inflation presents a grave concern – the government claims inflation is rising at just above 10 percent annually, but analysts claim it is as high as 20 percent.