Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has been inaugurated as Argentina's president, taking over the job from her husband, Nestor Kirchner, who stepped down after one term in office. Ms. Fernandez becomes the first woman ever elected president in the South American country.

President Fernandez took the oath of office Monday in Congress, where she received the presidential sash from her husband.

In her inaugural speech, Ms. Fernandez vowed to fight poverty, saying she will not stop as long as there is one poor person in the country. She also promised to continue her husband's economic policies, which helped revive Argentina's economy after its collapse in 2001.

The presidents of Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, and Venezuela were among the leaders who attended the inauguration ceremony.

The 54-year-old former senator was elected president in October with 45 percent of the vote.

Ms. Fernandez is the second woman to serve as Argentina's president. Isabel Peron, who was not elected, succeeded her husband, Juan Peron, when he died in 1974.

Analysts say Ms. Fernandez faces challenges pushing forward her husband's economic policies that include high inflation and energy shortages.

President Fernandez joins Michelle Bachelet of neighboring Chile as the second woman to currently serve as president in South America.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.