BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentine President Cristina Fernandez faces an election Sunday that is sure to open a fierce struggle over her remaining power, and her aides say she's not even watching the news.
Fernandez, 60, has been secluded in the presidential residence, recovering from skull surgery in the run-up to congressional elections that will decide how much control she'll have over Argentine politics during the final two years of her presidency.
Polls suggest the ruling Front for Victory party will lose ground in both houses, burying the idea that she'll win the super-majority necessary to change the constitution and enable re-election to a third straight term.
After more hospital tests on Wednesday, her doctors said she must avoid anything stressful and rest until Nov. 8 at least. Since the blood on her brain was discovered on Oct. 6, she's been absent from a campaign where she had been the main attraction for slates of ruling party candidates.
But Interior and Transport Minister Florencio Randazzo said she wasn't even told this week about the latest train crash that injured nearly 100 passengers and is causing new headaches for the government. "The president doesn't know about what happened," he said. "I don't think it would contribute to her recovery to learn about the episode."
Some polling suggests the ruling Front for Victory party, known as the FPV, and its allies will barely hold onto their majority in the lower house and are at greater risk of losing it in the Senate.
She needs a majority in each house to reach a quorum and push through her agenda, and the ruling party has already lost some sure votes in the current Congress. Of 257 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, the FPV has 115 official seats, but can depend on only 109 or 110 votes from its own party members, which together with allies provides her with the total she needs.
In the current Senate, the FPV has 32 seats, and can count on other allies for a total of 38 votes, barely more than the 37 needed for a majority in the 72-member chamber.
If it's clear that Fernandez will not be able to stay in power beyond this term, the scene in the always fractious Peronist party that dominates Argentine politics would become much more volatile, said Mariel Fornoni, director of the Management & Fit consultancy. "It remains to be seen what will happen with the ruling party's allies, who could begin to move to the other side," she said.