Carlos Menem

Carlos Saúl Menem Akil or shortly Carlos Menem ( born July 2, 1930 in Anillaco, La Rioja Province ) is an Argentine lawyer and politician who on 9 July 1989 1999 President of Argentina as a member of the Peronist party until December 10.

Early years

His family was at the beginning of the 20th century the then to the Ottoman Empire belonging to Syria - come to Argentina - hence the nickname "el turco ". He studied law at the National University of Cordoba. He conducted a campaign in support of political prisoners and was arrested for assisting in violent actions against the dictatorship of General Pedro Eugenio Aramburu 1957. After the end of military rule in 1973, he was elected governor of the province of La Rioja. Three years later he was again imprisoned, as the President Isabel Martínez de Perón was overthrown in March 1976 and again a military junta took over the presidency. In October 1983, with the end of military rule and the return to democracy, Menem was re-elected governor of the province of La Rioja. On 14 May 1989, when the country suffered a serious economic crisis, he was elected President of the Republic of Argentina, succeeding Raúl Alfonsín. The legislation of that time had only Catholics to the presidential election. Since Menem was a son of Muslim immigrants, he had to appear before his candidacy to the Roman Catholic faith.


The main problem, which he had to deal with was the economy, which was due to hyper-inflation and a recession from ruin. Menem acted quickly by carrying out a series of reforms neoliberal blank: he privatized the state-owned companies and the state television networks. He deregulated the economy and gave away free prices. During the term of office of the Minister of Economy Domingo Cavallo Convertibility was adopted, which coupled the value of the Argentine peso 1:1 to the dollar of the United States. This rate was up to the Argentine financial crisis of 2001/2002 inventory. The central bank was obliged to cover the Argentine currency with their dollar reserves in the ratio 1:1. Thus, the State could no longer by increasing the money supply refinance (lack of seigniorage ). This positive aspect was zunichtegemacht by an increase in the foreign debt: In the 10 years of his reign, the external debt grew by 123% from 65.3 to 146.2 billion U.S. dollars.

The most important economic benefits that resulted from these measures was a comparatively low inflation in the low single digits. The fixed parity of the Argentine peso with the dollar and caused by the high financial requirements, relatively high interest rates attracted foreign capital, which led to a significant growth in the gross domestic product. The privatization in the public sector and state-owned enterprises led to quality improvements in several sectors ( water, electricity, gas), although many consumers were excluded and the quality of services deteriorated in other sectors. The privatization of the rail network hit completely fails, large parts of the large route network were completely abandoned.

At the same time the most important disadvantages of his policies were a significant decrease in the competitiveness of the export sector and the processing industries, supplying the domestic market, as well as unemployment due to the high, "bound" to the dollar domestic prices.

When Menem took over the business of government, climbed the unemployment and underemployment historical heights ( 8.1 % and 8.6 % of the economically active population). After a period of slow decrease ( 6.9 and 8.3 % in May 1992), the unemployment and underemployment grew during the economic crisis in Mexico ( " Tequila crisis " ) again, in May 1995 until 18.4 and 11.3 % reached the summit and then the two indicators in October 1998 to 12.4 and 13.6 % declined. At the end of his reign, these numbers were 13.8 and 14.3% respectively.

In other areas, made ​​Menem talked about. So he was in 1991 in the formation of the South American free trade area with Mercosur. After the scandal, the murder of the recruits Omar Carrasco triggered, he abolished conscription. His government was eventually burdened by corruption allegations and proven cases of nepotism. He pardoned soldiers of the previous military dictatorship (1976-1983) as well as members of guerrilla organizations that had been active mainly in the 70s.

You put a burden to him to have manipulated the judiciary. When he was in power, was increased to nine by an Act of Congress, the number of members of the Supreme Court. Part of the press called this enlarged Court "means the court of miracles", because you gave him the right to decide always on the interests of the government. Another name that you gave the five Menem related judges, was " automatic majority", as in most disputes matched the voices of these five judges.

During his reign, terrorist attacks have been committed, which over a hundred people that killed: 1992 Israeli Embassy and 1994 on the Argentine- Israelite Association ( AMIA ). The investigation, which should find the culprits of these attacks were unsuccessful; some sectors continue to believe that the investigation was deliberately hindered by the instances of the government.

The high popularity ratings of his administration and the large, concentrated in the Peronist party power allowed it Menem, pressure on the opposition Radical Civic Union (UCR ), and in particular to exert their leader Raúl Alfonsín for the signing of the so-called Pact of Olivos. In it the two sides agreed after negotiations behind closed doors, among other things call for a reform of the national constitution in 1994, which enabled the unique re-election of the President in exchange for a reduction of the presidency from six to four years. Thus, the re-election of Menem in the following year was made possible at the same time.

In his second term, Menem held fast to the economic policies of his first term. However, this time made ​​the growing foreign debt, the beginning of a recession in the fourth quarter of 1998 and new allegations of corruption Menem to an ever less popular figure. He did indeed once again compete in the presidential election, because in his opinion led to the constitutional amendment that his second presidency was to be regarded as the first presidency under the terms of the new constitution, but failed so in court. After the presidential elections gave Menem from his office in 1999 to Fernando de la Rúa of the opposition Radical Civic Union ( UCR), who was able to prevail against the candidate of the Peronist party, Eduardo Duhalde.

Life after presidency

In May 2001, he married the Chilean Cecilia Bolocco, formerly known as Model ( Miss Universe in 1987 ) and as a Chilean TV presenter worked, this marriage ended in divorce in April 2007. On 7 June 2001 he was arrested on suspicion of arms trade with Croatia and Ecuador during his tenure ( in 1991 and 1996) and was until November of the same year under house arrest. End of August 2002, he appeared in court and denied all charges. Later the ownership of accounts, he was placed in Swiss banks to the load, the existence of the ex-president had not specified and whose presence he could not justify. In this matter he was sentenced, by providing a bail him but the prison term was adopted on 20 December 2004.

After President Eduardo Duhalde announced 2003 presidential election for the year, Menem presented for re-election, which took place on April 27. Menem initially achieved this by a simple majority with 25 % of votes. However, not succeeded, the votes necessary to win an absolute majority and directly to gain the presidency. Consequently, it was set for May 18, 2003, a runoff between Menem and runner-up Néstor Kirchner. However, Menem decided to ballot not to compete, as the polls showed that his opponent would surpass him by about 40 percentage points. Néstor Kirchner was automatically by waiving Argentine President Menem.

On October 23, 2005 Menem ran for his home province of La Rioja in the Senate election and won the seat of the runner-up. Winner of the election was Ángel Maza, Governor of the province and an ally of President Kirchner, who in turn is a dedicated Menem opponents. Because of the electoral system Carlos Menem was still a senator. ( The strongest party gets two items, the second largest grouping one. ) Menem therefore took exactly six years after the end of his presidency back to public office. But some political analysts evaluate the fact that he did not reach the majority in his own province, as a sign of his political importance loss.

On June 13, 2013 sentenced an Argentine federal court in retrial of 2002 Carlos Menem for illegal arms shipments to Croatia and Ecuador in the years 1991 to 1995 to seven years imprisonment. But Menem does not have the prison sentence for the time being take, because he enjoys immunity as a Member of the Senate.