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Rodriguez Saa to Be Nominated Argentine Provisional President

Argentina's opposition Peronist party, which controls the country's Congress, has named provincial governor Adolfo Rodriguez Saa as Provisional President. If approved by Congress which seems very likely, Mr. Rodriguez Saa will succeed ex-President Fernando de la Rua who resigned Thursday but he will only hold power until a new President is elected.

Argentine caretaker President Ramon Puerta made the announcement Friday, following hours of closed door meetings with Peronist party political leaders. He said the party, which controls Congress, will nominate Mr. Rodriguez Saa to become Argentina's provisional President, in a resolution to be introduced before a special joint session of legislature called for Saturday.

Mr. Puerta also said the resolution will propose holding elections for President and Vice President on March third.

The special Congressional session was convened to decide who will succeed ex-President Fernando de la Rua, who was driven out of office Thursday by widespead rioting over his failed economic policies. Under the Constitution, lawmakers can decide to either choose an interim President to finish out the remaining two years of Mr. de la Rua's term or to preside over new elections.

But with the Peronist party unanimously backing Mr. Rodriguez Saa and the call for new elections, it is almost certain Congress will go ahead and approve the party's proposal. After it does so, caretaker President Puerta will step down and hand over power to Mr. Rodriguez Saa.

It was widespread looting and rioting that led to Mr. de la Rua's downfall. After two years of economic austerity measures which failed to resolve the country's deepening economic crisis, most Argentines were ready to see Mr. de la Rua go.

Engineer Beatrice Lupieri is among those who welcomed his resignation, but now is very worried about what happens next. The new President is likely to have to make tough economic decisions, including a possible devaluation which could wipe out the savings of many. Ms. Lupieri says she is pessimistic about the future. "I trust no one, we trust no one," she says. "And that's the worst thing of all. We Argentines trust no one."

In the meantime, store clerks in Buenos Aires Friday cleaned up broken glass and other debris left by looters who had smashed store fronts, and bank windows in different parts of the city Thursday.

Life returned more or less to normal during the day Friday, even though caretaker President Puerta decided to maintain a partial state of siege in Buenos Aires province to prevent any further unrest. However, most Argentines seem exhausted by the tumultuous events over the past few days, and appear ready for change that a new President will bring.