Cristina Fernández de Kirchner: who is VP of Argentina, assassination attempt explained and who is gunman?

Supporters had been protesting outside Argentina vice president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s house, after a prosecutor called for her to receive a 12-year sentence in corruption case.

An attempt to kill Argentina’s politically powerful vice president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner outside her home failed after a handgun misfired, the president has said.

Shocking footage shows a man pull a gun on Ms Fernandez as she is greeting supporters outside her home.

The gunman was quickly overpowered by the vice president’s security officers during the incident on Thursday night, officials said.

President Alberto Fernandez said the pistol did not discharge when the man tried to fire it.

What happened to Cristina Fernandez?

“A man pointed a firearm at her head and pulled the trigger,” president Fernandez said in a national broadcast following the incident.

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He said the firearm was loaded with five bullets, but “didn’t fire even though the trigger was pulled”.

The vice president, herself a former leader of the country, did not appear to have suffered any injury, and the man was overpowered within seconds as he stood among a crowd of her supporters.

Vice President of Argentina Cristina Fernandez talks to supporters that waited for at her home at Recoleta neighborhood after opening a session at the National Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A man pointed a gun at her. Credit: Tomas Cuesta/Getty Images

Gina De Bai, a witness who was near the vice president during the incident, told The Associated Press she heard “the sound of the trigger being pulled”. She said she did not realise it was a handgun until the man was rushed by security personnel.

Video broadcast on local television channels showed Ms Fernandez exiting her vehicle surrounded by supporters when a man is seen extending his hand with what looks like a pistol.

The vice president ducks as people around the apparent gunman appear shocked at what is happening.

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Unverified video posted on social media shows the pistol almost touched Ms Fernandez’s face.

In this photo released by Telam news agency a man points a gun at Argentina's Vice-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner as she arrives to her residence in Buenos Aires on September 1, 2022. - A man was arrested Thursday in Argentina for pointing a gun at Vice-President Cristina Kirchner as she arrived at her home, said Security Minister Aníbal Fernández. via Getty

Who is the alleged assassin?

The alleged gunman was identified as Fernando Andre Sabag Montiel, a Brazilian citizen, said an official at the Security Ministry.

He does not have a criminal record, the official said, adding that the weapon was a .32-calibre Bersa.

Who is Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner?

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Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is one of Argentina’s most prominent political figures, having served as president from 2007 to 2015, before taking office as vice president in 2019.

In 2016, a judge indicted her along with 11 others on charges of corruption, illicit association, and aggravated fraudulent administration. At the time, she had criticized the investigation as being politically motivated.

Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner waves to supporters. Picture: Getty

This year, in August, a prosecutor called for a 12-year sentence for Ms Fernandez as well as a life-long prohibition in holding public office in a further corruption case.

Fernandez has vehemently denied the charges, and these have led her supporters to surround her home in the upscale Recoleta area of Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires.

Her supporters clashed with police, with reports officers used tear gas as people tried to break down the fence to her home.

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She was greeting people outside her home with the man pulled the gun in her face.

Assassination attempt

Shortly after the incident, government officials were quick to decry what they called an assassination attempt.

“When hate and violence are imposed over the debate of ideas, societies are destroyed and generate situations like the one seen today: an assassination attempt,” economy minister Sergio Massa said.

President Fernandez, who is not related to the vice president, called it “the most serious incident since we recovered democracy” in 1983 after a military dictatorship and urged political leaders, and society at large, to repudiate the attempted shooting.

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The president declared Friday a holiday “so the Argentine people can, in peace and harmony, express itself in defence of life, democracy and in solidarity with our vice president”.