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Maximo Kirchner with his mother and sister in 2011
Maximo Kirchner with his mother and sister in 2011

BUENOS AIRES — A battle over prized parliamentary office space for Maximo Kirchner, son of former Argentine presidents Néstor and Cristina Kirchner, has become a symbol of the defeated Kirchner forces' bid to hold on to the last remnants of power.

The younger Kirchner won a seat in the December general elections, but his leftist Victory Front party lost to a conservative majority in the election that now wants him out of the spacious office digs, Argentine daily Clarín reports. So to avoid the 38-year-old Kirchner being turfed out, allies in the legislature began sleeping in the office and blocking its entrance, in a "squatting" style action, Clarin reports. Not untypical of the Kirchnerist rank and file, and more so its leftist or youth wing the Cámpora, headed by the young Kirchner, who was once tipped as a possible successor in his own right to his presidential parents. Last fall's general election saw Cristina Kirchner's handpicked successor Daniel Scioli defeated by Mauricio Macri for the presidency.

A member of Maximo Kirchner's staff told Clarín, "we're working, we have things to do," when workers came to clear out the office and change the locks. Maximo Kirchner himself was cited as saying "nobody has usurped anything. They were doing up the office." Another daily La Nación, observed that the showdown was only the latest example of how the Kirchner clan had confused the state and its own personal properties.

Reports say the pro-Kirchner legislators had been occupying the entire third floor since 2007, and now, as their legislators have dropped from 120 to 95, it was only normal they should free up some space. On Monday, in an echo of similar moves in Venezuela, the presidential office ordered the portraits of the late president Néstor Kirchner and his friend, the late Hugo Chávez, removed from parliament to be sent to a museum.

Ironically, the current Maximo Kirchner showdown also recalls the difficulties that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had getting Chavez's daugther to move out of the presidential palace after her father's death in 2013.

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Russian state media reports that a fuel tanker exploded early Monday in an airfield near the city of Ryanza, southeast of Moscow, killing three and injuring six people. Another two people are reported to have been injured in another morning explosion at the Engles-2 airbase in the Saratov region, farther to the southeast.

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