The Vice President of Argentina was unharmed after the assassination attempt failed

A plot to assassinate Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina on Thursday night failed when a man pointed a pistol to her head and tried to pull the trigger, but the gun did not fire, according to video and statement from President of Argentina.

Mrs. Kirchner was unharmed.

“Cristina is alive because, for reasons that have not been confirmed technically, the weapon, loaded with five rounds, did not fire,” President Alberto Fernández said in a speech to the nation later in the day. Thursday. “This is the most serious incident since we restored our democracy.”

According to Buenos Aires police, federal police have arrested Fernando Andres Sabag Montiel, 35, a Brazilian living in Argentina, in connection with the attack.

Kirchner, a former leftist president who is Argentina’s most prominent leader with three decades in the public eye, is a deeply polarizing figure in the country and is on trial on corruption charges. Her supporters have rallied outside her home in Buenos Aires since last week, sometimes clashing with police.

Just after 9 p.m., as Mrs. Kirchner was exiting her car into a large crowd outside her home, a man quickly approached and pointed a gun at her face, according to video and authorities. A clicking sound heard in the video suggests the man may have tried to pull the trigger. Mrs. Kirchner bent down and the man was dragged away.

Five people chased a man from the scene and said he had tried to kill Ms. Kirchner, according to Buenos Aires police. Federal police later arrested Montiel and found a pistol near the scene, Buenos Aires police said.

Fernández declared Friday a national holiday in Argentina so that the Argentine people can “defend life and democracy in solidarity with our vice president,” he said. “The outcry, horror, and outcry this event has generated among us must become a permanent commitment to eradicating hatred and violence from our democratic lives.”

Members of Argentina’s National Assembly said they had formed a commission to investigate the assassination.

Kirchner, 69, was president of Argentina from 2007 to 2015 and first lady from 2003 to 2007, when her late husband, Néstor Kirchner, served as president. Their political power was so strong in Argentina that it gave rise to Kirchnerism, a left-wing movement that remains one of the most powerful political forces in the country.

In 2019, she returned to Casa Rosada, Argentina’s presidential office, after mapping out the political ticket in which she would run for vice president and Fernández would run for president. Mr. Fernández is not expected to run for re-election next year because of dismal approval ratings amid a spiraling Argentine economy.

Ms. Kirchner, despite being opposed by her rights in Argentina, is still loved by a large part of the country’s population. Many political analysts in Argentina have speculated that Ms. Kirchner might try to return to the presidency next year.

But she is also grappling with a corruption trial that is in its final stages and could end in December. She faces accusations that she helped channel state funds for projects. making public roads for a company owned by a family friend. Prosecutors are demanding a 12-year prison sentence for Ms. Kirchner and a ban from holding public office. However, even if convicted, she will likely avoid those penalties for years on appeal.

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