BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentine President Cristina Fernandez had successful surgery on Tuesday to remove blood from the surface of her brain and is expected to make a full recovery, a government spokesman said.
Her conditioned, diagnosed on Saturday, has nonetheless sidelined the sharp-tongued, two-term leader ahead of a key mid-term election and at the apex of a rancorous court battle with the nation’s “holdout” creditors.
“She is in a very good mood,” spokesman Alfredo Scoccimarro said.
The president’s medical team issued a statement saying the operation took place without complications.
Fernandez’ condition, described as a subdural hematoma, came from hitting her head when she took a fall in August. The operation involved draining blood that had pooled between the brain and the skull.
Fernandez, known for micro-managing her cabinet, is likely to pick up the reins of state as soon as she can, even if it from a hospital bed. Vice President Amado Boudou cut short a planned visit to Brazil and France to return to Argentina during the weekend and take over Fernandez’s public duties while she recuperates.
On Saturday Fernandez, 60, was told to rest for a month due to her condition but on Monday plans for the surgery were announced after she complained of tingling in her left arm.
Supporters, some carrying signs that said “Hang In There Cristina” and “The Country Is With You,” gathered outside the Fundacion Favaloro hospital, where the surgery was conducted.
“She sends greeting to all of you and would like to thank you and her medical team,” Scoccimarro said from the hospital steps.
The hematoma appeared at a sensitive time for the Fernandez administration. Argentines are increasingly unhappy about double-digit inflation and government-imposed currency controls that have clamped down on access to U.S. dollars as part of an effort to halt capital flight.
Her policies promote economic growth at the cost of consumer prices increases clocked by private economists at 25 percent per year, one of the highest inflation rates in the world.
When she became ill on Saturday, Fernandez was in full campaign mode, making speeches on behalf of allies running in the October 27 mid-term primary, an election that will determine whether her coalition keeps control of Congress during her final two years as leader of the grains-exporting powerhouse.
Fernandez, first elected in 2007 and re-elected in 2011 on promises of greater state intervention in Latin America’s No. 3 economy, also is embroiled in a legal battle against holdout bond investors who declined to participate in Argentina’s 2005 and 2010 debt restructurings and are suing for full repayment.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a preliminary appeal filed by Argentina in the case, which could go on for another year after more than a decade of bouncing around the U.S. federal courts.
World markets are watching the case for the implications it might have on future sovereign debt restructurings.
The International Monetary Fund has voiced fear that if Argentina is forced to pay the holdouts the $1.3 billion they are demanding, it would make it more difficult for cash-strapped countries to renegotiate their bond obligations.
Editing by Vicki Allen and Bill Trott