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Argentina: Duhalde Chosen as New President - 2002-01-02


Argentine lawmakers have chosen Peronist party Senator Eduardo Duhalde as the country's new President to govern the country until 2003, completing the remaining two-year term of ex-President Fernando de la Rua who resigned late last month. Mr. Duhalde was elected by a special emergency session of Congress late Tuesday after five hours of debate.

The election of Mr. Duhalde, a former Vice President and governor, late Tuesday came as no surprise since he was nominated by the Peronist party, which controls both houses of Congress.

The only debate was over whether Congress should select a President to serve out the remaining term of ex-President de la Rua, or call new Presidential elections for later this year.

Mr. Duhalde, a 60-year old veteran Peronist leader, becomes the fifth President of Argentina in less than two weeks, including two caretakers, as the country struggles to emerge from a deep political and economic crisis.

He now faces dealing with same problems that brought down Mr. de la Rua, and interim President Adolfo Rodriguez Saa who resigned on Sunday. These include a massive foreign debt, an overvalued currency, and a nearly four-year recession that has impoverished many in this once-prosperous South American nation.