Carlos Saúl Menem Akil (born July 2, 1930) is an Argentine politician who was President of Argentina from July 8, 1989 to December 10, 1999. He has been a Senator for La Rioja Province since December 10, 2005.
Born in Anillaco, Menem became a Peronist during a visit to Buenos Aires. He led the party in his home province of La Rioja, and was elected governor in 1973. He was deposed and detained during the 1976 Argentine coup d'état, and was elected governor again in 1983. He defeated the Buenos Aires governor Antonio Cafiero in the primary elections for the 1989 presidential elections, which he won. Hyperinflation forced outgoing president Raúl Alfonsín to resign early, shortening the presidential transition.
Menem supported the Washington Consensus, and tackled inflation with the Convertibility plan in 1991. The plan was complemented by a series of privatizations, and was a success. Argentina re-established diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom, suspended since the 1982 Falklands War, and developed special relations with the United States. The country suffered two terrorist attacks. The Peronist victory in the 1993 midterm elections allowed him to force Alfonsín to sign the Pact of Olivos for the 1994 amendment of the Argentine Constitution. This amendment allowed Menem to run for re-election in 1995, which he won. A new economic crisis began, and the opposing parties formed a political coalition that won the 1997 midterm elections and the 1999 presidential election.
Menem ran for the presidency again in 2003, but faced with a likely defeat in a ballotage against Néstor Kirchner, he chose to pull out of the ballotage, effectively handing the presidency to Kirchner. He was elected senator for La Rioja in 2005. At 88, he is currently the oldest living former Argentine president.
He is also known as Carlos Saúl Menem and Carlos Saul Menem.