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The BBC's Claire Marshall
"The couple have rarely been out of the celebrity spotlight"
 real 56k

Saturday, 26 May, 2001, 21:34 GMT 22:34 UK
Menem marries his beauty queen
Menem wedding
The new Mrs Menem feeds her husband from a 400kg cake
By Claire Marshall in Lima

The flamboyant former president of Argentina, Carlos Menem, has married for the second time, to a Chilean beauty queen, Cecilia Bolocco.

The lavish ceremony took place on Saturday in his home town of La Rioja in the north of the country.

However, it comes as the former leader prepares to appear in court on charges of illegal arms dealing.

With a postponement and confusion among the Latin American tabloids as to when and where it would happen, the long-awaited wedding the former president and the ex-Miss Universe has finally taken place.

Odd couple

Half his age and standing at almost twice his height, the new Mrs Menem said she was proud to take on the surname of a man who has done so much for this country.

The ceremony was held in a marquee in the gardens of a governor's residence in La Rioja.

Around 6,500 guests then enjoyed an enormous 400 kilogramme wedding cake.

However, the celebrations are being somewhat overshadowed by Carlos Menem's scheduled appearance in court on 13 July to answer charges of illegal arms dealing.

Just this week one of his former defence ministers was jailed for his involvement in the scandal.

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See also:

06 Jan 01 | Americas
Why men envy Menem
01 May 01 | Americas
Menem ordered to answer arms charge
27 Oct 99 | Americas
Menem blamed for Peronists' defeat
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