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Tuesday, 1 January, 2002, 14:25 GMT
Press lambasts Peronist 'infighting'
Argentine demonstrators climb the gate of Buenos Aires Government House
Argentina's political crisis has worsened
Newspapers in Argentina have voiced dismay at the resignation of interim president Adolfo Rodriguez Saa after only seven days in office.

Most blame infighting in the Peronist Party, which holds a majority in Argentina's Congress, for the fiasco.

'Another agonizing chapter'

The centrist daily La Nacion, in an editorial calling for national unity, sees the episode as "another agonizing chapter in our country's deep political crisis".

"On the margin of official explanations about this sudden resignation and serious socio-economic problems, a regrettable reason for this new institutional failure is evident: Personal ambitions and party infighting prevail over the public interest," the paper says.

It says the country's political leadership, and especially Peronist Party representatives, have failed to grasp the nettle.

Thus ends this sad year, the year of the vote of anger and banging on pots and pans...

"Argentine society demands deep changes in the way politics are conducted and in their leaders... They call for the seeking of broad and solid consensus, beyond uncaring party interests, to serve as the basis for building state policies," the paper asserts.

'Pathetic isolation'

An opinion piece in the mass circulation daily Clarin says Mr Rodriguez Saa emerged as president thanks to a "misbegotten accord" amongst Peronist governors.

The short-lived president miscalculated by quickly revealing his ambition to remain in office "beyond the period set by those who had chosen him" the article says.

"Rodriguez Saa's pathetic isolation in the Peronist infighting left him no choice but to resign," it says.

Adolfo Rodriguez Saa, Argentina's interim president
Now you see him...
"But the country, which is more than Peronism, still urgently needs political stability and economic certainty, the essential ingredients for a solution, painful though it may be."

"Thus ends this sad year, the year of the vote of anger and banging on pots and pans, a year in which politicians were placed as never before under the pitiless scrutiny of a society that is fed up with them but that has no alternatives," the Clarin commentator concludes.

Nation left adrift

Buenos Aires business paper El Cronista sees the resignation as "the catastrophic denouement of an internal dispute among the Peronists, in which several of its principle leaders did not understand that these days a lot more than an election campaign is at stake."

"Trapped in a Political Morass" is the headline of its editorial.

Adolfo Rodriguez Saa's resignation from the presidency of the Republic marks a new arrangement of the pieces on the complex and unresolved internal gameboard of the PJ (Peronist Party)...

Buenos Aires Economico
"Argentina is finishing the year 2001 today with the same problem it had when it began it: the lack of political leadership able to handle the crisis, an absence whose predictable consequences have left the nation adrift," according to the paper.

Extending the crisis

The seeming lack of agreement among key politicians about how long the interim president's mandate should be, or if elections scheduled for March should take place, or whether a government of national unity should be formed, also exercises the Buenos Aires Economico daily.

"Adolfo Rodriguez Saa's resignation from the presidency of the Republic marks a new arrangement of the pieces on the complex and unresolved internal gameboard of the PJ (Peronist Party), which will extend to unimagined limits the crisis that began with President Fernando de la Rua's departure," it says with foreboding.

"The formation of alliances for the coming Assembly is an unknown, with a divided PJ that does not permit a discernment of what the final outcome of the political crisis will be," the paper says.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

01 Jan 02 | Americas
Argentina braces for fresh protests
31 Dec 01 | Americas
Argentina's seven-day president
31 Dec 01 | Americas
Argentina 'to cancel' elections
01 Jan 02 | Americas
Chile cautions Argentina over crisis
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