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Kirchnerism (Spanish kirchnerismo) is a term used to refer to the political philosophy and supporters of the late Néstor Kirchner, president of Argentina from 2003 to 2007, and of his wife Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who has been president since 2007. Although the Kirchners are members of the Justicialist Party (the original, official and largest Peronist party, founded by Juan Perón in 1947), Peronism itself is a broad movement, and many Peronists oppose them ("Anti-Kirchnerist Peronism").

On the other hand, Kirchnerism, although originally a faction in the Justicialist Party, later received support from other smaller Argentine political parties (like the Communist Party or the Humanist Party), and from factions of some traditional parties (like the Radical Civic Union and the Socialist Party). In parties which are divided along Kirchnerist/Anti-Kirchnerist lines, the members of the Kirchnerist faction are often distinguished with the letter K (for instance "peronistas/justicialistas K", "radicales K" or "socialistas K"), while the factions opposing kirchnerism are similarly labeled with the expression Anti-K.

In response to the rise of Kirchnerism, the term "Anti-Kirchnerism" has arisen to describe those sectors and persons, as much within as without Peronism, who opposed the governments of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández.


Both Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner come from the left wing of Peronism, and both began their political careers as members of the Peronist Youth (Juventud Peronista). Many of the Kirchners' closest allies belong to the Peronist left. Antikirchnerists often criticize this ideological background with the term setentista ("seventies-ist"), suggesting that Kirchnerism is overly influenced by the populist struggle of the 1970s.

  • Kirchnerism has shown itself to be concerned with the defense of human rights, particularly in prosecuting those who committed human rights violations during the Dirty War and were later made immune from prosecution by the governments of Carlos Menem (1989–1999). The willingness of the Kirchner government to revoke these immunities has led many Argentine human rights organizations, such as the Madres de Plaza de Mayo and Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo to take an actively Kirchnerist position.[1] This has led to many controversies and to allegations that the Kirchners were never fully committed to human rights, especially during the period of the last military dictatorship, and that it was only when Néstor Kirchner became president and began to make alliances with the left-wing parties in Congress and with the Madres de Plaza de Mayo that he started to campaign about these rights in order to promote his own platform and gain popular favor. It is documented nevertheless that the Kirchners did push for trial against human rights violators during the dictatorship, although late in that period, in 1983, when its end was already in sight.[2]
  • Kirchnerism has shown itself to be expressly opposed to neoliberal policies. However, while governor of the province of Santa Cruz, Kirchner publicly supported neoliberal president Carlos Menem, endorsing the sale of oil exploration and production company YPF to Repsol, and going as far as claiming that "since the times of that great General (Perón) there hasn't been a president that has listened so much to the southern Patagonia and Santa Cruz in particular." [3]
  • Economically, Kirchnerism has pursued an economic policy of industrialist developmentalism. They don't allow importation of goods that are produced in Argentina to protect local industry and employment.
  • Internationally, Kirchnerism has strongly supported Mercosur and vice versa, to the point that the president of Mercosur, Carlos Álvarez, is a Kirchnerist.
  • One of the most prominent positions of Kirchnerism is to strengthen Argentine relations with the countries of Latin America and to establish a South American economic axis. Recent economic measures posited by Cristina Fernández's government have, nevertheless, hurt Argentina's relationship with these countries, mainly Brazil [5] and Uruguay, whose president José "Pepe" Mujica expressed worries regarding Argentina going towards an "autarchist" form of government, and the Kirchnerist economic model "complicating relationships and multiplying difficulties" in bilateral commerce.[6]


Unlike his predecessor Eduardo Duhalde, Néstor Kirchner was a Peronist but distrusted the Justicialist Party as a support for his government. He proposed instead a "Transversalist" policy, seeking the support of progressive politicians regardless of their party.[9] Thus, he got support from factions of the PJ, the Radical Civic Union (which were called "Radicales K") and small centre-left parties.

Kirchner neglected the internal politics of the PJ, and kept instead the Front for Victory party, which was initially an electoral alliance in his home province of Santa Cruz, and in the 2003 elections premiered in the federal political scene. Some politicians favored by this policy were Aníbal Ibarra, mayor of Buenos Aires for the Broad Front and supported as Kirchnerist, and Julio Cobos, governor of Mendoza for the UCR and elected as vicepresident of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in 2007.

The Transversalist project was eventually dismissed. Kirchner took control of the PJ, and some "Radicales K" slowly returned to the "Anti-K" faction of their party, most notably vice-president Julio Cobos and Governor of Catamarca province Eduardo Brizuela del Moral; while other very prominent Radical politicians remained in the "K" wing of the Radical Civic Union, such as provincial governors Gerardo Zamora of Santiago del Estero, Ricardo Colombi of Corrientes and Miguel Saiz of Río Negro.


Kirchnerism has encountered opposition from various sectors of Argentine society, which tend to criticize its personalism. [10]

In 2015 when Foreign Policy was speaking about corruption in Latin America, it was stated that:

"The viceroys of the colonial era set the pattern. They centralised power and bought the loyalty of local interest groups. ... Caudillos, dictators and elected presidents continued the tradition of personalising power. Venezuela’s chavismo and the kirchnerismo of Ms Fernández are among today’s manifestations."[11]

See also[edit]


  • Rosendo Fraga (2010) Fin de ciKlo: ascenso, apogeo y declinación del poder kirchnerista, Buenos Aires, Ediciones B.
  • Korstanje M (2012) Estado, Política y Religión. Reflexiones para comprender la Argentina contemporanea (2001-2011). Lap-Lambert Academic Publishing. Saarbrücken, Germany. ISBN 978-3-8473-6379-8


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