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Argentinian leftist Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirschner survived an assassination attempt this week, an incident that sent shockwaves across the Latin American nation amid political polarization and an economic crisis, Al Jazeera reported.

On Thursday night, a gunman standing a few steps away from Kirschner pulled the trigger – but the weapon did not fire. He was immediately apprehended.

Authorities continue to search for a motive for the attempt, but local media said the suspect – identified as 35-year-old Fernando Andres Sabag Montiel – appears from his tattoos and social media profile to have embraced far-right ideologies, the New York Times added.

The incident sent shockwaves across Argentina and prompted condemnation from world leaders. Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez – unrelated to the vice president – called it the “most serious event” in the country since its return to democracy in 1983 after years of military rule.

The assassination attempt comes as Argentina experiences deep political polarization and an economic crisis worsened by surging inflation.

At the same time, the vice president has become embroiled in a corruption case – she faces a 12-year prison sentence if found guilty. Her supporters have been holding rallies outside her house in Buenos Aires, saying she is a victim of political persecution.

Meanwhile, analysts suggested that the incident could boost Kirschner’s bid to run for president in next year’s election.

She previously served as Argentina’s president from 2007 to 2015.

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