Very briefly president of Argentina, from 23 to 31 December 2001. On 21 December President Fernando de la Rúa resigned after only two years in office, because of mounting deaths in street protests at government austerity measures. The Congress met and chose Rodríguez, the governor of San Luis province, to succeed him. The idea was that he would be acting president until 3 March 2002, when a national election would choose someone to fill the remainder of De la Rúa's term.

His first acts were to try to stem the haemorrhage of the Argentine economy. He suspended repayment of international debts, and announced the creation of an new currency, the argentino, to run alongside the existing peso.

Unlike De la Rúa, Rodríguez is a member of the Justicialist Party (the Peronists), because they controlled the Congress, in opposition to the president. However, after seven days in office he was unable to gain the support of enough Peronist governors to enable him to work, and he went on television to announce his immediate resignation on 31 December.

His temporary successor should have been the head of the Upper House, Ramón Puerta, who had been acting president from the 21st to the 23rd; but Puerta announced his own resignation minutes after the president's, on the grounds of ill health, and the head of the Lower House, Eduardo Camaño, has become acting acting president, until Congress can meet in a day or two to choose an acting president to fill in until the elections to choose a successor to De la Rúa. With this so far? There is now talk of cancelling the elections. (Later: Eduardo Duhalde became president next.)

Señor Rodríguez Saá was born in 1947, and had been governor of San Luis in the Andes since 1983, winning re-election four times, and had a rare reputation for good economic management. It had been assumed he would be a prime candidate to stand in the 3 March elections.

Married with five children, he was involved in a bizarre sex scandal in 1983, being discovered in what the BBC website describe as a love motel with a woman and two other men. His story was that he had been kidnapped for blackmail purposes. Señor Rodríguez Saá has an orderly mind and enjoys a game of bridge.

< Fernando de la Rúa - Argentina - Eduardo Duhalde >

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