Argentina's Fernandez discharged from hospital after brain surgery

Reuters

* President in good mood and recovering, spokesman says

* Fernandez ordered strict rest for 30 days

* Combative leader sidelined ahead of Oct. 27 primary vote

BUENOS AIRES, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Argentine PresidentCristina Fernandez was discharged from hospital on Sunday aftersuccessful surgery last week to remove blood from the surface ofher brain, but cannot yet resume public duties, the governmentsaid.

Fernandez has been advised to take 30 days of strict restand avoid air travel. Her health will continue to be closelymonitored, the medical report released by the government said.

"The medical team attending the president has decided todischarge her," spokesman Alfredo Scoccimarro said. "She's stillin an excellent mood and still in an ongoing recovery, and sendsyou a big kiss and lots of affection to all those who haveprayed for her here and in the world."

Scoccimarro said on Saturday that Fernandez was walking, hadleafed through some books and started to ask for food. "Forinstance, they offered her apple puree and she asked for plumpuree," he said.

Dozens of supporters brandishing Argentine flags and posterswith messages such as "the people need you" cheered Fernandez asshe left the hospital in central Buenos Aires to head to theOlivos presidential house where she will convalesce.

Fernandez has been recovering since Tuesday in the intensivecare unit of the Fundacion Favaloro hospital, where the surgeryto drain blood that had pooled between her brain and skull tookplace.

The subdural hematoma came after Fernandez hit her head in afall in August. The accident wasn't disclosed at the time andits details have not been made public.

SIDELINED AHEAD OF KEY VOTE

The sharp-tongued, two-term leftist leader has beensidelined ahead of a key mid-term election on Oct. 27 and at theapex of a rancorous court battle with Argentina's "holdout"creditors.

When she became ill, Fernandez was in full campaign mode,making speeches on behalf of allies running in the mid-termprimary, which will determine whether her coalition keepscontrol of Congress during her final two years in power.

Vice President Amado Boudou has taken over public duties,but Fernandez, known for micro-managing her cabinet, is likelyto want to take control again as soon as she can.

The hematoma appeared at a sensitive time for heradministration. Argentines are increasingly unhappy aboutdouble-digit inflation and government-imposed currency controlsthat have clamped down on access to U.S. dollars as part of aneffort to halt capital flight.

Fernandez is also embroiled in a legal battle againstholdout bond investors who declined to participate inArgentina's 2005 and 2010 debt restructurings and are suing forfull repayment.

Fernandez had her thyroid glands removed last year after shewas diagnosed with cancer, although later tests indicated nocancer was present. Her late husband, former President NestorKirchner, died from a heart attack in 2010.

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