JANUARY 3, 2002

Reutemann quiet as rivals commit political suicide

Being an Argentine politician at the moment is a dangerous business.

BEING an Argentine politician at the moment is a dangerous business. In recent weeks there have been five different Presidents as the country has struggled to figure out a way to cope with its enormous $132bn debts. President Fernando de la Rua resigned on December 21 and was followed out of the door by Adolfo Rodriguez Saa, who lasted nine days. He was followed by two members of Congress who ran provisional governments over the holiday period. Eduardo Duhalde, one of the country's powerbrokers, has now formed an administration and says that he will try to turn the country around. This is likely to involve a devaluation of the peso which is likely to lead to more unrest and Duhalde may not be able to hold power of that happens.

Economists say that Argentina is going to have suffer more before it can begin to emerge from the current problems and the wisest politicians are those keeping a low profile at the moment. Duhalde has said that he will not run for President at the next election, in an effort to create some unity amongst politicians. One of the biggest problems facing the country's politicians is that they are not trusted by the populace, because of continuous allegations of corruption on both sides.

Former Ferrari and Williams driver Carlos Reutemann has avoided such allegations and may be well-placed to step into a leading role in the future.