Néstor Carlos Kirchner (Spanish pronunciation: ; 25 February 1950 – 27 October 2010) was an Argentine politician who served as the 54th President of Argentina from 25 May 2003 until 10 December 2007. Previously, he was Governor of Santa Cruz Province since 10 December 1991. He briefly served as Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and as a National Deputy of Argentina for Buenos Aires Province. Kirchner's four-year presidency was notable for presiding over a dramatic fall in poverty and unemployment, following the economic crisis of 2001.
A Justicialist, Kirchner was little-known internationally and even domestically before his election to the Presidency, which he won by default with only 22.2 percent of the vote in the first round, when former President Carlos Menem (24.4%) withdrew from the ballotage. Soon after taking office in May 2003, Kirchner surprised the world by standing down powerful military and police officials. Stressing the need to increase accountability and transparency in government, Kirchner overturned amnesty laws for military officers accused of torture and assassinations during the 1976–1983 "dirty war" under military rule.
On 28 October 2007, his wife Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was elected to succeed him as President of Argentina. Thus, Kirchner then became the First Gentleman of Argentina. In 2009, he was elected a National Deputy for Buenos Aires Province. He was also designated Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations on 4 May 2010.