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Wednesday, October 27, 1999 Published at 01:00 GMT 02:00 UK

World: Americas

Menem blamed for Peronists' defeat

Carlos Menem: Barred from standing

Infighting has broken out among Argentina's Peronist party after its defeat in the country's presidential elections.

Losing candidate Eduardo Duhalde says he is not to blame for the defeat and has accused the outgoing President Carlos Menem of undermining his campaign.

[ image: Eduardo Duhalde blames Mr Menem for his defeat]
Eduardo Duhalde blames Mr Menem for his defeat
But Mr Menem said he could not be to blame for the party's loss since he was not a candidate.

Meanwhile, President-elect Fernando de la Rua has pledged to continue Mr Menem's negotiations for the return of the Falkland Islands, but says it is not a priority.

The outgoing president had made regaining the islands through negotiation a central aim of Argentina's foreign policy.

Air links between Argentina and the islands, known in Argentina as Las Malvinas, were restored in mid-October.

Mr Menem was barred from standing for a third consecutive term of office by the constitution.

But Monday - the day after the election - his supporters put up Menem 2003 posters across Buenos Aires in readiness for the next election when he will be allowed to stand.

Despite their loss in the presidential elections the Peronists have been celebrating one notable victory.

Current Vice-President Carlos Ruckauf won a close race for the governorship of the province of Buenos Aires.

The post is second only to the presidency in terms of importance in Argentina.

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