The Miami Herald
March 24, 1999
Argentina's president: I won't run again

             Herald Staff Writer

             Argentine President Carlos Menem, whose chances of running for a third term
             were seriously diminished by a political defeat in a state election last weekend, said
             Tuesday in Miami that his reelection is ``totally out of the question.''

             ``I have taken myself out of that possibility [of running again] last July 22,'' Menem
             said in response to a question after receiving an honorary doctoral degree at
             Florida International University. ``Since then, I'm self-excluded from any possibility
             of a reelection.''

             Menem, who has gone back and forth on the reelection issue over the past year,
             said his supporters have ``insisted'' on an effort in the courts to change the laws to
             permit him to make a third bid for the presidency. He said reports of these efforts
             have given rise to ``stories that don't have anything to do with reality.''

             He seemed to leave the door open, however, when he ended his comments about
             the legal bar to his reelection by saying, ``Let's see how the whole thing ends up.''

             Menem had suggested as recently as last week that he would run for a third term if
             the constitution allowed him to do so, and senior government officials have been
             telling reporters for months that the president is seeking a third term. Critics say
             Menem is encouraging his aides to promote his reelection, while publicly denying
             any intention to join the race.

             Menem cut short his visit to Miami by five hours. He left at noon Tuesday after
             receiving his honorary degree from FIU, addressing a Microsoft conference for
             Latin American executives and signing a cooperation agreement with Microsoft
             chief Bill Gates.

             On Monday, an Argentine court ruled against four reelection petitions presented
             by Menem supporters. But Argentine officials say Menem suffered the most
             serious blow on Sunday, when his candidate for governor lost a key election in the
             northern province of Catamarca.

             Argentina's presidential election is scheduled Oct. 24. Menem, who was elected in
             1989, finishes his second term of office Dec. 10.

             On Tuesday morning, Menem discussed his efforts to make Argentina computer-
             and Internet-literate, comparing himself to reformist Argentine President Domingo
             Faustino Sarmiento, whose achievements from 1868 to 1874 included extending
             telegraph lines throughout the country.

             ``After Sarmiento, it is my turn today to promote lines of information technology,''
             Menem told the Sixth Annual Microsoft Latin America Enterprise Solutions

             Menem outlined his efforts to crack down on software piracy, to computerize the
             government and to make his nation computer-literate.

             ``I invite you to invest in Argentina, all of you, but especially Bill Gates,'' Menem


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