|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Argentine government woos renegade coalition partner
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) -- Argentina's government was straining to keep its shaky coalition together Monday, as the man who detonated a crisis by quitting as vice president last week said he wanted more administration heads to roll.
Carlos Alvarez, head of the left-leaning Frepaso, shocked the country by resigning Friday in indignation at what he considered a lack of response by President Fernando de la Rua to a bribes-for-votes scandal in the Senate.
Alvarez was indignant that De la Rua failed to sack Labor Minister Alberto Flamarique -- who had been forced to deny bribing opposition congressmen to pass a labor market law in April -- when he announced a cabinet reshuffle last Thursday.
Instead, De la Rua made Flamarique his chief of staff and also kept another official Alvarez wants fired from his job -- the head of the Intelligence Department (SIDE), Fernando de Santibanes.
Fears immediately surged for the future of the Alliance coalition -- in which Frepaso partners De la Rua's centrist Radical Party. While Alvarez promises the Alliance will hold firm, ministers are already fretting over the prospect of three years of government without the support of Frepaso's 36 congressmen in the 257-member lower house.
"It would be impossible to get laws passed," said Interior Minister Federico Storani.
Surprised by Alvarez's resignation, the president has since scrambled to make amends, prompting the resignation of both Flamarique and the president of the Senate.
But Alvarez, known universally by his nickname "Chacho," said he wanted more political blood to flow and rejected tentative government approaches to give him a leading role coordinating the Alliance.
"I couldn't put up with the fact that there are people close to the president, like the man in charge of the SIDE, who are working against the vice president," Alvarez told radio.
He later tried to reassure those who feared that the governing coalition could break up, saying: "I am still part of this government. Freeing myself of the responsibility of being vice president does not make me a member of the opposition."
The Alliance won elections last October promising to clean up politics, but Alvarez's resignation has eroded confidence in De la Rua's commitment to fighting corruption.
Polls show approval rating of the president have plummeted in recent months, while Alvarez is one of the most respected political figures in the country.
De la Rua has promised that Argentina's nine-year old fixed exchange rate locking the peso at one to the U.S. dollar would remain, and promised new economic measures for this week.
Copyright 2000 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
See related sites about Americas
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.