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Last Updated: Monday, 10 December 2007, 19:38 GMT
Argentina swears in new president
Cristina Kirchner and her husband, Nestor
Cristina Kirchner takes over from her husband, Nestor
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has been sworn in as president of Argentina, six weeks after her convincing win in October's election.

She took over the presidential sash from the outgoing president - her husband, Nestor Kirchner.

Mrs Kirchner becomes Argentina's first elected female head of state.

Several countries sent women to represent them at the inauguration, which correspondents said was a very feminine affair.

Women politicians

Many regional leaders were also at the ceremony.

Mrs Kirchner took over officially as president form her husband, amid chants of "Viva Cristina" from the gallery.

Although both Mr and Mrs Kirchner have repeatedly stressed that she alone will take decisions, the new president said her predecessor will not disappear from the political scene.

"For me and for all Argentines, he will also continue being president," she said.

For the first time ever, Latin America will have two women presidents at the same time, with Mrs Kirchner following the lead of Michelle Bachelet in Chile.

To reflect this rise of women in what has traditionally been a male-dominated region, several countries sent women to represent them at the inauguration ceremony in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires.

Michelle Bachelet (l), Nestor Kirchner (c) and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (8 November 2007)
Mrs Kirchner has promised to follow the policies of her husband

Among them were the US Labour Secretary, Elaine Chao, Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa Cantellano and the Governor General of Canada, Michaelle Jean.

The irony is that political analysts in Argentina say that the new president prefers working with men.

This inauguration was very different from that of her husband, Nestor, in 2003, says the BBC's Daniel Schweimler in Buenos Aires.

Argentina was then emerging from an economic and social crisis - the future looked bleak.

But while many problems remain, the country has seen year-on-year economic growth and relative stability.

Mrs Kirchner still has to deal with high unemployment and rising crime, but she takes over Argentina's top job with a huge mandate and many friends in the region, our correspondent says.

The first female President of Argentina is sworn in

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