Page last updated at 01:23 GMT, Monday, 8 February 2010

Ex-Argentina President Kirchner has artery operation

Former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner
Nestor Kirchner is a divisive figure in Argentina

The former president of Argentina, Nestor Kirchner, has undergone emergency surgery to remove a blockage in his carotid artery.

Government ministers in Buenos Aires said the operation to clear the artery, which carries blood from the heart to the brain, was a success.

Mr Kirchner, 59, was president from 2003 to 2007 before his wife Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was elected.

Mr Kirchner is said to be planning to stand again for president in 2011.

He was admitted to hospital in the Palermo district of Buenos Aires on Sunday before reports began to emerge of his conditions.

"The news is good; the operation is over," Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana told Associated Press as he entered the Los Arcos hospital.

One of six doctors who operated on the former president told the EFE news agency that the blockage had required an "urgent intervention".

Despite Mr Kirchner's reported intention to seek re-election, he suffered an electoral setback in 2009 when mid-term elections handed his Peronist party a heavy defeat.

Mr Kirchner announced he would step down as party leader after the results, which were seen as a referendum as the economic policies of both Mr and Mrs Kirchner.

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