President: Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
Cristina Fernandez swept to victory in the first round of Argentina's presidential election in October 2007 - a victory that many attributed to the popularity of her husband, the then President Nestor Kirchner.
Cristina Fernandez, Argentina's first female president
She fought the election campaign largely on Mr Kirchner's record of reducing poverty and unemployment in the wake of the 2001-2002 economic crisis - one of the worst the country had ever experienced.
It was widely believed that before his death in 2010 her husband, who was expected to stand again for the presidency, still ran the country behind the scenes.
However, buoyed by a booming economy, Ms Fernandez was re-elected to a second term with a landslide 54% of the vote in October 2011. Her closest challenger won only 17%.
But when economic problems re-emerged in the following year, President Fernandez struggled to get the country back on track.
Her party suffered setbacks in mid-term congressional elections in late 2013, and she shifted economic policy towards more state intervention in an attempt to kick-start growth.
A new crisis emerged in early 2015, when Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor charged with investigating the 1994 deadly bombing of a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires, was found dead in suspicious circumstances.
A judge dismissed Mr Nisman's allegations that President Fernandez had covered up Iranian involvement in the bombing for lack of evidence. The president herself accused 'rogue agents' of the secret service of killing Mr Nisman.
Ms Fernandez was active in the leftist Peronist movement as a law student in the 1970s, and supported her husband as he rose through the party ranks, becoming a senator herself in 1995 and Mr Kirchner's chief adviser when he was elected president in 2003.