Carlos Saúl Menem

(b. 1935)

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(b. 2 July 1935).

President of Argentina 1989–99 Son of Syrian immigrants, he took a doctorate in law. He was Peronist Governor of La Rioja province during the 1980s, and on 14 May 1989 he became the first leader of the opposition to win a democratic election in over 60 years. To placate the armed forces and stabilize the country's fragile political system, he proclaimed an amnesty in October 1989 and December 1990 for soldiers who had participated in illegal activities and human rights abuses during and after military rule. After stringent economic measures he led the country to economic recovery, so that the annual inflation rate declined from 4,923 per cent in 1989 to 7 per cent in 1993. In 1994 he successfully introduced a new constitution, which allowed his re-election, but also weakened the power of the President against parliament. He was re-elected in 1995. He stabilized the economy, but unemployment remained high at over 15 per cent, while his ministries continued to be plagued by corruption scandals.

Subjects: Politics — Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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