BUENOS AIRES — Argentina's president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, underwent a successful surgery Tuesday morning in which doctors removed blood that collected in the tissue outside her brain, a government spokesman said.
“The operation has been satisfactory; it went very well,” presidential spokesman Alfred Scoccimarro said at a news conference outside the Buenos Aires hospital where Fernandez was recuperating.
The news was met with cheers and applause from hundreds of supporters, some of whom had camped out overnight and festooned the area with signs expressing their good wishes.
“Strength, Cristina,” read one sign, according to the newspaper Clarin. “There’s no one like you.”
The collection of blood, called a subdural hematoma, was the result of a fall that the 60-year-old Fernandez took in August. When the hematoma was discovered Saturday, doctors simply ordered her to rest. But a day later, she reported a tingling in her arm, and the decision was made to operate.
Hospital officials said Fernandez was recovering in an intensive care unit Tuesday. She will likely remain hospitalized for a week and then spend 30 days recuperating in the official presidential residence.
That means Fernandez will probably be sidelined during the run-up to Oct. 27 congressional elections in which many predict that her Front for Victory party will lose significant number of seats.
That could weaken Fernandez politically during her remaining two years in office. It would also likely close the door on the possibility of changing the constitution to allow her to run for a third consecutive term -- a scenario that some of her supporters have been pushing.
Fernandez, a left-wing populist, has boosted spending on social programs. But inflation has soared in Argentina, and some in the private sector have complained that the country has become increasingly unfriendly to business on her watch.
In a poll in April, nearly 60% of respondents said they disapproved of Fernandez's management of the country. [Link in Spanish]
While she recuperates, the functions of the president will be fulfilled by the vice president, Amado Boudou. He is being investigated regarding allegations of illicit enrichment and corruption, and is currently one of least popular politicians in the country.
Special correspondent D'Alessandro reported from Buenos Aires and staff writer Fausset reported from Mexico City. Cecilia Sanchez of The Times' Mexico City bureau contributed to this report.