Biography of Eduardo Alberto Duhalde (1941-2012)

Lawyer and Argentine politician, born in Lomas de Zamora (Buenos Aires) on October 5, 1941 and died April 3, 2012. He/She was Governor of the province of Buenos Aires (1991-1999) and assumed the position of President of the Republic the 2 of January 2002, after the fleeting mandate of fellow party, the Peronist Adolfo Rodríguez Saa, and only two weeks after the social revolt that put an end to the radical Government of Fernando de la Rúa.

He finished his law studies in 1970 and obtained graduation as a lawyer and Attorney at the Buenos Aires University, before becoming a professor at the National University of Lomas de Zamora for providing the materials of institutions of public law and introduction to law. At the same time he/she practiced law in the Department of Legal Affairs of his hometown and joined the ranks of the Peronist party (PJ). Professional and political career, he/she held positions of high responsibility as President of the Centre of lawyers Peronists of Lomas, Vice President of the Congress of lawyers Peronist Buenos Aires, the Presidency and the secretariat general of the table of groupings Peronists and, in 1971, President of the Peronist party in his hometown of.

Eduardo Duhalde took his first steps in public life as a councilman in Lomas in 1973, the year in which Perón regained power in the Republic after nearly two decades of exile. In 1974 he/she became mayor of Lomas following the death of the Mayor of the town and held the position until the triumph of the military coup that, in 1976, clinched power at the general Videla. Duhalde then returned to his real estate business and to underground militancy in the Peronist postulates.

In 1983 he/she was elected Mayor of Lomas and in 1987 National Deputy for the province of Buenos Aires. A year later accepted the offer of Carlos Ménem, then Governor of La Rioja, to accompany him in the race for the Presidency in the ranks of the Judicialista party for the elections of July 8, 1989. The tandem worked successfully and Duhalde became the Vice President of the first Peronist Cabinet following the end of the military dictatorship. In 1991 he/she left the Casa Rosada to compete for the Government of the province of Buenos Aires and managed a resounding electoral victory with the support of almost 50% of the votes. After the May 1995 elections he/she was re-elected Governor and repeated mandate until he/she resigned to submit his candidacy as head of the list of the PJ, to the presidential elections of October 1999. Its management was long remembered by the public works and construction of schools and hospitals though, after eight years as Governor of Buenos Aires, he/she left the province in bankruptcy and failed to solve the substantial problems of citizenship. Duhalde, however, blamed the deficit to the neo-liberal policy of the then economic Minister, Domingo Cavallo.

Awarded by the orders of Boyacá (Colombia, 1989), Cruzeiro do Sul (Brazil, 1991), Quetzal (Guatemala, 1991) and Bernardo O'Higgins (Chile, 1992), in 1992 was named doctor honoris causa by the University of Genoa (Italy).

His career toward the Presidency represented an on infighting in the ranks of the Argentine PJ and laid the foundations of a feud between Menem and Duhalde. Some Peronist currents openly opposed Buenos Aires Governor options and advocated the candidacy of the President of the elections of 1999, which had demanded a reform of the Constitution to save the ban to qualify for a third consecutive term. Finally, Duhalde was elected the PJ candidate to the presidential elections although concluded the elections, was defeated by Fernando de la Rúa, leader of the Alliance formed by the Radical Party (UCR) and the Frepaso (front for a country in solidarity).

Energetic politician, nicknamed "bobblehead" by its demonstrated recalcitrance and also by the size of their brains, returned to the political arena in the legislative elections of October 2001, where he/she attained the post of Senator for the province of Buenos Aires. By then, the radical Government was going through one of the worst moments of his administration, beset by debt, economic crisis and social unrest. On the brink of financial bankruptcy, De la Rua joined the former Minister Cavallo in his Cabinet but their banking, and economic measures designed to alleviate the lack of liquidity, were answered with massive demonstrations in the streets of the country. In a climate of social revolt, the radical Government fell at dawn on 20 December and returned to unleash infighting in peronism to choose the candidate who should hold power. Chosen was Adolfo Rodríguez Saá, Governor of the province of San Luis, but a week later, lost all initial support and had to resign.

The leading justicialistas chose then to Duhalde to lead the Government of salvation which should conclude the presidential mandate until December 2003, interrupted after the fall of Fernando de la Rúa. Duhalde pledged to fulfil its mandate and to not stand for re-election. With the difficult challenge of recomposing the political and institutional structure of the country, wrapped in a severe economic and social crisis Duhalde took Presidential Office on January 2, 2002 with a speech marked by prudence that announced the devaluation of the peso as a first step to stem the crisis. After a decade of parity with the dollar, imposed by the convertibility law 1991 Menem, the Argentine currency lost 30% of its value against the dollar.

The streets returned to answer the financial policy of the new Government with a "clanging" noise during the night of January 12, hours once the economic team Duhalde, led by Jorge Remes Donagh, announced that you would be the freezing of deposits in banks. The measure, popularly known as "corralito", had been adopted by the former Minister Cavallo to limit the withdrawal and prevent massive evasion of capital and was one of the causes of the social unrest that led to the fall of the two former executives.

Protests against financial constraints not referred in the following months and, in the spring, the Economic Minister announced a new plan aimed, once again, to avoid the withdrawal of funds from banks to sink the country's financial system. Bill, which provided for redeem the deposits held in the "yard" by public debt bonds, rose deep divergences in the ranks of peronism and of the radical opposition and took office at the head of the Ministry. Donagh remes resigned on 23 April and, after him, the Cabinet full put their positions at the disposal of the President. To save the crisis, Duhalde announced a major shift in its economic policy as well as an extensive remodeling in the Government and signed with the powerful justicialistas leaders a plan of salvation, based on the demands of the IMF, to start the recovery of the country within a period of ninety days. Roberto Lavagna was named new Minister of economy.

Meanwhile, a large sector of the population continued to suffer the effects of the devaluation of the peso, the rise in prices and the rapid impoverishment of families. Groups of unemployed and pensioners, organized around the so-called block Piquetero Nacional, and leftist trade union groups organized for June 26 a day of protest against the Government's economic plan and the requirements of the IMF, which concluded with notorious incidents in Buenos Aires, where the police used to fund with the protesters. Two young men were killed, ninety were injured and about 200 were detained. Violent brutality again awoke social indignation and thousands of Argentines occupied the streets of major cities in the country to demand the resignation of Duhalde.

Further weakened its political legitimacy after the serious incidents in the beginning of the summer, the President announced the advancement of elections to March 2003, when the elections were planned for the month of September. Finally, the date was delayed until April 27. On the other hand, the strong internal division in the bosom of the PJ became unfeasible the presentation of a single electoral list and there were three Peronist candidates who pushed the Presidency of the Republic: Néstor Kirchner - Governor of Santa Cruz and Duhalde followers - and former Presidents Carlos Menem and Rodríguez Saá. As they ventured to the polls, none of the candidates achieved the majority in the first round and Kirchner and Menem were housed for one head of State in a new election. The withdrawal of Menem of the race days before the inquiry left unobstructed road to on May 25, 2003 Duhalde placed the presidential sash to Néstor Kirchner .

The fracture at the heart of peronism lasted for months and in the summer of 2005 a federal judge ordered the intervention of the justicialist party to put an end to the situation of "acefalia" which was the main party in the country. The task of reconciliation would be guessed arduous, even more so after the legislative elections of October in which Argentines granted its majority support to the front for victory (FPV) of the President Kirchner at the expense of the governing PJ, controlled by Duhalde.