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Saturday, 7 October, 2000, 00:21 GMT 01:21 UK
Argentina's vice-president quits
President Fernando de la Rua swears in a new minister
Mr Alvarez's (centre) resignation is a setback for the president (left)
By South America correspondent James Reynolds

The Vice President of Argentina, Carlos Alvarez, has resigned after sharp disagreements with President Fernando de la Rua over a corruption scandal.

It follows a controversial cabinet reshuffle on Thursday.

Mr Alvarez had wanted President de la Rua to remove two ministers whose names have been linked with a bribery scandal in Congress.

But the president decided to keep the ministers in his cabinet.

Following Mr Alvarez's decision to step down, hundreds of supporters gathered outside his residence in Buenos Aires, urging him to stay in government.

But party officials say that Mr Alvarez has told them his resignation is irreversible.

Crisis

President de la Rua has expressed his regret over his vice-president's decision.

His ministers have been quick to try to play down the effects Carlos Alvarez's resignation.

They insist that the administration's ability to govern will not be affected.

But despite their claims, many in Argentina see this as the most serious crisis President de la Rua has had to face in his 10-month administration.

Carlos Alvarez had been the leading voice in the government's anti-corruption campaign.

His decision to step down, with the implication that the president is not doing enough to fight corruption, is a blow to the administration.

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See also:

03 Sep 00 | Monitoring
Argentine press eyes corruption scandal
14 May 00 | Americas
Deal ends Argentina protest
10 Dec 99 | Americas
Argentinian president sworn in
25 Oct 99 | Americas
Tough challenges for new president
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