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Early Elections in Argentina

July 03, 2002|From Times Wire Services

BUENOS AIRES -- President Eduardo Duhalde on Tuesday moved up presidential elections by six months to March, saying he wanted to boost international confidence in efforts to resolve Argentina's economic crisis.

Duhalde said that fast-forwarding the vote, originally set for September 2003, would help restore order to Argentina, whose economy has been in recession for four years.

"We will reinsert ourselves into the international community. We are very close to concluding a long negotiation" with the International Monetary Fund, Duhalde said of talks with the lending agency.

Duhalde is lobbying the IMF for $18 billion in credit to repay debt owed to lenders this year and next. The Washington-based lending agency said Tuesday that it was preparing to send several teams to Argentina to study support for the tottering economy.

In an address lasting less than five minutes, Duhalde announced only the barest outline of his election timetable. He said the presidential primary would be called within 120 days.

It was not immediately clear whether the elections would be only for the presidency and vacant vice presidency.

Duhalde was named by Congress on Jan. 1 to serve as caretaker president amid political turmoil following President Fernando de la Rua's resignation in December.

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