Is the Kirchner Era Over?

The Kirchners have reigned supreme as Latin America's most glamorous power couple for six years, but Argentina is turning on them now. Polls show Cristina will likely lose her congressional majority in the June 28 elections, even though her husband and popular predecessor as president, Nestor, is stumping as a lower-house candidate. The Kirchners have been among the region's sharpest critics of Washington and Wall Street, but that's not the trouble. Argentines are fed up with their bullying at home: pushing a pliable legislature into ceding control over the pension system, the national airline, utilities and media. Last year Cristina's popularity plunged after a failed standoff with farmers over export taxes, and her confrontational tactics are widely blamed for stalled growth, rising crime and unemployment. Some say Cristina would step down rather than govern by consensus. Argentine presidents rarely complete their mandates—so if history is any indicator, the Kirchner era may end well before 2011.