Meaning of ALFONSN, RAL in English

born Mar. 13, 1926/7, Chascoms, Buenos Aires, Arg. in full Ral Ricardo Alfonsn Foulkes civilian president of Argentina (198389) elected after eight years of military rule, leader of the moderate Radical Party (Spanish: Unin Cvica Radical, or UCR). Alfonsn attended the Liceo Militar (military academy) General San Martin, obtained a law degree from the National University of La Plata (1950), and founded the newspaper El Imparcial in his native Chascoms. After serving for a decade in provincial politics, he was elected to the national parliament (1963) under a UCR president, who later fell victim to a military takeover (1966). Alfonsn ran unsuccessfully for the UCR nomination in the 1973 presidential election, which was won by a candidate from the rival Peronist party who was later overthrown by the military (1976). In response to human rights abuses perpetrated by state security forces during the ensuing regime, Alfonsn wrote La cuestin Argentina (1981; The Question of Argentina) and cofounded the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights. After Great Britain trounced Argentina in the Falkland Islands War (1982), the discredited military allowed a freely contested presidential election (1983), in which Alfonsn, as the UCR candidate, defeated the Peronist contender. Although his presidency was plagued by high inflation, severe national debt, labour disputes, and a discontented military, Alfonsn remained committed to democracy. In an attempt to stabilize the economy, he negotiated loans from the International Monetary Fund and introduced an economic program, the Austral Plan (1985), that met with limited success. He prosecuted members of the armed forces for the human rights abuses of the late 1970s, and several high-ranking officials received life prison sentences. Due to increased pressure from the military, including several armed revolts, Alfonsn pardoned most convicted officers and proposed renewed military investment. Constitutionally debarred from seeking another term in 1989, Alfonsn was succeeded by Carlos Sal Menem, a Peronist.

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