Rúa, Fernando de la (1937–)

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Rúa, Fernando de la (1937–)

This Argentine politician served as president from 1999 to 2001. Born in Córdoba on September 15, 1937, de la Rúa attended secondary school at the General Paz Military School and graduated in law from the National University. A practicing Catholic, he was active as a young man in the Radical Civil Union Party.

He began his political career as adviser to the Ministry of the Interior during the administration of Arturo Illia (1963–1966). In April 1973 he was elected to the national senate for the city of Buenos Aires. That year he also backed Ricardo Balbín in his run for president of the Radical Civil Union Party. At the end of the military dictatorship in 1983, de la Rúa wanted to run for president but had to give way to Raúl Alfonsín's overwhelming triumph as the party's choice. He was again elected as senator for Buenos Aires. In 1989 he won the popular vote for this position but the Peronistas and liberals worked together to defeat him in the electoral college. In 1991 he became a deputy and two years later returned to the senate. He left his position in 1996 when he was elected the mayor of Buenos Aires.

In 1997 the Radical Civil Union Party, in alliance with the Front for a Country in Solidarity (FREPASO), regained the nationwide majority thanks to tensions within the Peronist party and criticism of the Menem administration for corruption and unemployment. With de la Rúa as candidate, the alliance won the presidency in December 1999. But the economic situation continued to deteriorate, with 18 percent unemployment and successive failures in various adjustment measures. The last of them was the corralito, which partially froze bank accounts and savings, bringing on a crisis for the coalition and increasing discontent. By late 2001 protests by the unemployed and account holders became widespread, while rival parties were organizing looting on the periphery of the large cities. A declaration of a state of siege and an order to suppress protests left twenty-seven dead throughout the country. This marked the end of de la Rúa's administration, and he was forced to resign on December 20.

See alsoAlfonsín, Raúl Ricardo; Argentina: The Twentieth Century; Argentina, Political Parties: Personalist Radical Civic Union.


Morales Solá, Joaquín. El sueño eterno: Ascenso y caída de la Alianza. Buenos Aires: Planeta, 2001.

Novaro, Marcos. Historia de la Argentina contemporánea. Buenos Aires: Edhasa, 2006.

Semán, Ernesto. Educando a Fernando. Buenos Aires: Planeta, 1999.

                                    Marcos Novaro