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Montevideo, March 3rd 2024 - 22:21 UTC



Martín Menem appointed Speaker of Argentina's Lower House

Friday, December 8th 2023 - 08:56 UTC
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Menem's political background consists of two years as a La Rioja provincial congressman Menem's political background consists of two years as a La Rioja provincial congressman

Newly-elected Congressman Martín Menem of La Rioja of President-elect Javier Milei's La Libertad Avanza has been appointed as the new Speaker of Argentina's Lower House to succeed Cecilia Moreau, the first woman ever to serve on the post.

 Menem is the nephew of former President Carlos Saúl Menem (1989-1999) and the son of former Senate Speaker Eduardo Menem. Only leftwing lawmakers failed to endorse Martín Menem's appointment, who is now third in line to the presidential succession after the Vice President and the Senate's provisional Speaker. He was among the 130 new legislators to take their oaths of office Thursday.

Moreau had been chosen for the post when Sergio Massa vacated it last year to take over as Economy Minister with extra powers which eventually proved insufficient to land him the top executive seat at Casa Rosada against Milei. On leaving her post, Moreau expressed her “pride at having been the first woman to preside the House, on the 40th anniversary of democracy”.

In his first speech, Menem echoed Milei's words: “As the president-elect said: 'There is no money',” meaning he will seek to cut down all non-essential expenses within the House. His main task will consist of having a State-reform package approved at the earliest, it was reported in Buenos Aires.

Born on April 19, 1975, in La Rioja, he moved to Buenos Aires at age 15, as his father served in the Senate between 1983 and 2005. He has a law degree and pursued a career in the dietary supplement business. “I got into politics so that no more obstacles are placed in the way of the private sector,” he said in recent interviews. He has now become the third Congressman ever from outside the province of Buenos Aires to serve as House Speaker after Rafael Pascual (City of Buenos Aires - 1999) and Eduardo Fellner (Jujuy – 2007).

In addition, the resignations of Milei and Vice President-elect Victoria Villarruel to the House were accepted in Thursday's session which was initially chaired by Congressman Carlos Heller until Menem's appointment was announced. Heller was chosen for the task because he was the oldest sitting Deputy.

Meanwhile, in the Upper House, departing Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (CFK) was nowhere to be seen and Senator Claudia Ledesma Abdala conducted the proceedings on her last appearance as provisional Speaker of the Senate, where her replacement could not be chosen during Thursday's session when the 24 new senators elected on Oct. 22 were sworn in. CFK was reportedly attending to her duties in charge of the Executive due to President Alberto Fernández's trip to the Mercosur Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

Categories: Politics, Argentina.

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