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Menem took office in July 1989 and promoted laws to reform the government and the economy following the resignation of his predecessor, Raúl Alfonsín, amid a deep financial crisis caused by hyperinflation. Menem privatized some companies that had previously been under state authority and succeeded in controlling inflation.

Menem left office in 1999 after an unsuccessful attempt to change the constitution to seek a third term. He ran for president again in 2003, securing the highest percentage of the vote in the first round of elections, but ultimately decided not to move on to the second round.

He remained active in politics by becoming a senator with the Justicialist Party representing the province of La Rioja from 2005 to 2019. He then joined the Peronist coalition called “Front of All” and was re-elected for another term which would have ran until 2023..

Menem had three children with his wife Zulema Yoma, before the couple divorced in 1991. He then married Chilean host and actress Cecilia Bolocco, with whom he had a child. Their marriage ended 10 years later.

The current Argentine President Alberto Fernández has decreed three days of national mourning starting from Sunday in honor of Menem.

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