Don't cry for me, Argentina

Don't cry for me, Argentina: Emotional Cristina Kirchner takes a parting shot at her successor as thousands take to the streets to bid controversial president farewell 
Thousands of supporters crammed into Argentina's most famous square for Cristina Kirchner's farewell speech
Outgoing president praised her achievements in office while blasting her successor Mauricio Macri in ongoing row
The rivals have bickered for the last ten days over where the presidential baton and sash would be handed over
Argentines view tiff as an embarrassment while Kirchner has also been attacked for snubbing Macri's inauguration
Kirchner criticised federal court ruling in a case brought by Macri that determined her presidency ended at midnight

Tens of thousands of supporters wept and cheered after cramming into Argentina's most famous square to bid farewell to President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
As blue and white Argentine flags waved on a balmy night, the outgoing leader gave a speech that lauded her achievements throughout her eight years in office while delivering a withering parting shot at her successor.
In the latest salvo in their bitter war of words, Kirchner vowed to make life difficult for new President Mauricio Macri, who was inaugurated today.

'After midnight, I'll turn into a pumpkin': Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner delivers a farewell speech to supporters in front of Casa Rosada presidential residence in Buenos Aires hours before her leadership ended after two terms in office

Kirchner's supporters cry during a ceremony on her last day in office outside the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires

Tens of thousands of supporters cram into Argentina's most famous square to say goodbye to President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner

Kirchner addressed the crowd on Plaza de Mayo in downtown Buenos Aires amid widespread criticism for her decision not to attend Macri's inauguration.

The two spent much of the last 10 days bickering over where the presidential baton and sash would be handed over. 

Macri wanted to receive them at the Casa Rosada presidential offices from Kirchner, while she insisted the handover happen in Congress.

Many Argentines viewed the argument as a national embarrassment. Without mentioning him by name, Kirchner framed the tiff as Macri's fault. 

She also criticised a federal court ruling in a case brought by Macri that determined her presidency ended at midnight, saying it would leave Argentina without a president until Macri's swearing-in.

'I can't talk much because after midnight I'll turn into a pumpkin,' she joked. 

Supporters demonstrate at Plaza de Mayo square in Buenos Aires during a farewell rally for President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner

Macri, who ran on free-market ideas, beat Kirchner's chosen successor by three percentage points in a run-off election last month.

The close result underscored the deep polarisation in Argentina and Kirchner has made clear she will continue to be heard, albeit from the sidelines of power. 

At Macri's inauguration, the oath of office was administered by incoming Senate speaker Federico Pinedo, who had served as provisional president in the interim after the court ruling. 
'This government will know how to defend freedom, which is essential for democracy,' Macri vowed in an address that laid out a sweeping agenda for change.

He also promised to fight 'untiringly for those who need it most,' a nod to his campaign pledges to keep the Kirchners' popular social programs.

The son of a wealthy businessman, he rose to fame as the president of Argentina's most popular football club, Boca Juniors, during a string of trophy wins.

The mayor of Buenos Aires since 2007, he won election at the head of a coalition called 'Let's Change.'

He has vowed to reboot Latin America's third-largest economy, which is slumping toward recession, by ending protectionist import restrictions, cutting heavy taxes on agricultural exports and scrapping the official exchange rate puffing up the Argentine peso.

In her speech last night, Kirchner talked about 'an agenda from the outside being imposed on the region', apparently referring to the United States and others she sees as enemies of Argentina.

During her two terms in power, Kirchner frequently accused other countries of meddling in the South American nation's affairs, though rarely provided details.

For 12 years, Kirchner, and before her, late husband and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner, dominated the political landscape.

The couple rewrote the country's social contract, spending heavily on social programs for the poor while passing liberalising laws, such as legalising gay marriage in 2010.
They also aligned Argentina with socialist leaders like the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales, who attended Kirchner's farewell speech.

'She made me proud to be Argentine for the first time in my life,' said onlooker Pablo Vega. 'She defended the interests of the country more than anybody.' 

Argentina's new President Mauricio Macri and his wife Juliana Awada wave as they leave Congress after his swearing-in ceremony

The 62-year-old, who was barred by the constitution from seeking a third consecutive term, leaves office with approval ratings around 40 per cent and some have speculated she might try to run again in 2019.

However, just as many Argentines love her, many also loathe her and the fight over the presidential transition brought out the frustration of detractors.

Don't cry for me, Argentina Don't cry for me, Argentina Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 9:13 PM Rating: 5

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