Duhalde, Eduardo (Argentina)
Duhalde was elected president on the 1 Jan. 2002, Argentina’s fifth president within a week. He completed the remaining term of Fernando de la Rua, who resigned in Dec. 2002 as a result of riots and protests among the population. Duhalde, a veteran within the Peronist party, was appointed president after the resignation of Eduardo Camaño who held office for just 1 day. Camaño acted as caretaker president following the resignation of Adolfo Rodruguez Saa who held office for a week. Previously, the constitutional successor Ramon Puerta, had held the presidency for less than 48 hours. Duhalde did not stand in the presidential elections of April 2003.
Duhalde was born on 5 Oct. 1941 in Lomas de Zamore, outside Buenos Aires. He went to a local primary school, followed by secondary studies at Comercial ‘Tomas Espora’ in Temperley. He graduated in law from the University of Buenos Aires in 1970. He was appointed local councillor in Lomas de Zamora in 1971 and mayor in 1976. In 1986 he became regional president for the Justicialist Party (PJ-Peronist) and entered the Congress. He was elected governor of the biggest province, Buenos Aires, in 1995 and re-elected in 1999. His administration was accused of corruption and forcing the province into debt in order for him to win votes. Duhalde served as vice-president under Carlos Menem. In 1999 he ran for president but lost against Fernando de la Rua.
Duhalde lacked popular support. The country had suffered the world’s biggest debt default, the collapse of a currency board with the peso pegged to the dollar and a freeze on bank savings. The economic situation did not rapidly improve and Duhalde failed to implement the programme demanded by the IMF. Aiming to protect local industry and to use public works projects to reduce unemployment, he blamed the crisis on economic liberalism. In Jan. 2002 he devaluated the peso by 29% and floated the peso the following month. In April 2002 he appointed Roberto Lavagna, the country’s ambassador to the European Union, as minister of economy, the sixth within 12 months. A major challenge for Duhalde and Lavagna was to persuade the IMF to resume its lending programme, which was cut off in Dec. 2001. Reforms included spending cuts and the abolition of an economic subversion law. In May 2002 Duhalde threatened to resign to encourage support for changes. In July 2002 Duhalde announced that he would bring forward the 2003 election by 6 months to March. Following a clash between protesters and the police in which two people were shot dead, pressure grew for his resignation. He did not stand for the presidency in April 2003.
Duhalde contested the 2011 presidential elections, finishing third behind Ricardo Alfonsín and winner Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.