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Argentina's Fernandez sworn in for 2nd term

By Mariano Castillo, CNN
updated 1:37 PM EST, Sat December 10, 2011
President Cristina Kirchner stands with the presidential sash and stick after her inauguration in Buenos Aires, on Saturday.
President Cristina Kirchner stands with the presidential sash and stick after her inauguration in Buenos Aires, on Saturday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Fernandez won re-election with 54% of the vote
  • She was sworn in on Saturday
  • She praised the country's economy and warned of future challenges

(CNN) -- Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was sworn in for a second four-year term Saturday, extolling her country's economic stability during a time of global crisis.

"We are a new Argentina, but we are also in a new world with more challenges and more decisions to be made in the best interest of our people and society," she said.

A bulk of her long speech focused on specifics of the Argentine economy that are impressive against the backdrop of a global downturn.

Industrialization has created more than 5 million jobs during her administration and minimum wages are the highest in the region, she said.

Argentina's economy could see growth of 9% in 2011, she said.

Internal growth in the country was one of the main drivers that kept the economy afloat, she said.

"I don't have to read you the consumption statistics. It's enough to go to the streets in any place, in any town ... to know that the domestic market is precisely what permitted us to survive the crisis of 2008 and 2009," she said.

While she talked a lot about specific economic indicators, Fernandez did not abandon her populist side.

"I am not the president of the corporations," she said. "I am the president of the 40 million Argentinians."

Fernandez ranks as one of the most popular candidates in Argentina since its return to democracy. She won re-election with more than 54% of the vote.

Her presidential campaign was also the first she had to wage without her late husband and former president, Nestor Kirchner. He was president from 2003 to 2007, when Fernandez succeeded him. He died in October of 2010.

In an apparent symbol of mourning, Fernandez wore black at her swearing in.

And when she took the oath of office, she asked God, country and "he" -- referring to her husband -- to hold her to account. Her eyes watered as she said those words.

"As everyone can imagine, today is not an easy day for this president," Fernandez said. "Despite the happiness, despite the overwhelming votes, something -- and someone -- is missing."

Her second term as president extends to 2015.

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