"Argentina, a South American country with a population of around 41 million, has had a vibrant democratic tradition since its military relinquished power in 1983. Current President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, from a center-left faction of the Peronist party, was first elected in 2007 (succeeding her husband, Néstor Kirchner, who served one term) and is now approaching the final year of her second term. Argentina's constitution does not allow for more than two successive terms, so President Fernández is ineligible to run in the next presidential election, scheduled for October 2015. The presidential race is well underway with several candidates leading opinion polls, including two from the Peronist party. Argentina has Latin America's third-largest economy and is endowed with vast natural resources. Agriculture has traditionally been a main economic driver, but the country also has a diversified industrial base and a highly educated population. In 2001-2002, a severe economic crisis precipitated by unsustainable debt led to the government defaulting on nearly $100 billion in foreign debt owed to private creditors, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and foreign governments. Subsequent Argentine administrations resolved more than 90% of the country's debt owed to private creditors through two debt restructurings offered in 2005 and 2010; repaid debt owed to the IMF in 2006; and, in May 2014, reached an agreement to repay foreign governments. Recent court rulings have increased pressure on Argentina to reach an agreement with private creditors who chose not to participate in the 2005 and 2010 debt restructuring offers. This outstanding debt has also prevented Argentina from accessing international credit markets, and could make it more difficult for Argentina to emerge from its current economic downturn."
CRS Report for Congress, R43816