Argentine leader recovering from brain op

Doctors have successfully removed a blood clot in Argentine President Cristina Fernandez's brain.
Doctors have successfully removed a blood clot in Argentine President Cristina Fernandez's brain.

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner is recovering in hospital after successful surgery to remove a blood clot on her brain.

Kirchner is said to be in "good spirits" following the operation, which came just three weeks before crucial mid-term legislative elections.

A government spokesman said the surgery was successful and a report described her as "evolving favourably" in an intensive care unit at a private hospital in Buenos Aires.

The surgery was performed "without complications", the government report said on Tuesday.

"It went very well. The president is in good spirits and is already in her room," said undersecretary for public communication Alfredo Scoccimarro.

Kirchner, 60, was diagnosed over the weekend with a "chronic subdural haematoma" resulting from a blow to the head sustained in a fall in mid-August.

She was hospitalised on Monday after experiencing tingling in her left arm and muscle weakness, prompting her doctors to order surgery to drain the haematoma lodged between the brain and its outer casing.

The current medical setback comes at a sensitive political moment, with Argentines going to the polls October 27 to cast ballot in legislative elections that will set the political direction for the country halfway through Kirchner's second and last term.

At stake are half the seats in the lower house of Congress and a third of the Senate. Kirchner's Peronist party currently controls both houses, but showed signs of weakness in primaries earlier this year.

Daniel Sabsay, an expert on Argentina's constitution, said that if Kirchner was unable to perform the duties of her office, "the correct thing would be to ask Congress for leave and transfer powers to the vice president."