LeaderCarlos Menem
Preceded byOrthodox Peronism
Succeeded byFederal Peronism
MembershipJusticialist Party
Loyalty and Dignity
Republican Federal Enconter
Popular Unity Justicialist Front
Front for Loyalty
Right-wing populism[5][6][7]
Political positionCenter-right[10] to right-wing[11][12][13]

Menemism is a term that refers to the policies implemented in Argentina by Carlos Menem, president of the country from 1989 to 1999. Like peronism (movement Menem belonged to), menemism is complex, being most usually defined as populist rhetoric combined with neoliberal policies.

Menemism came to power from the Popular Unity Justicialista Front. He is remembered for the electoral platform with which he won the elections; the measures included a "salariazo" and "productive revolution." He won the elections with other sectors of Peronism or center-left radicalism.

Menemism returned to power with a resoundingly high vote rate, having already modified the national constitution, with the Co-participation, so that the government mandates would last 4 years, making it possible for Carlos Saúl Menen to be re-elected. The recurring problems of this economic model determined[citation needed] an economic recession since 1998, which would end up exploding in the 2001 crisis.


Menemism constituted a political-cultural period around the practice of an excessive consensus of the neoliberal ideology, with policies such as convertibility, the privatization of companies, economic liberation, where the economy was deregulated, reducing quotas, tariffs and import prohibitions. Ideology that was contradicted mainly by the national-popular sectors of Peronism that branded Menem as a "Traitor". In order to contradict these sectors, an attempt was made to relate, in this sense, the trace of a certain turn of Peronism in public policies during 1952 to open up to foreign capital, with the liberal policies that the Menemist government was carrying out. In order to show some continuity and relationship with the Peronist movement.[14]

Menemism was qualified in various ways around its position in the political spectrum, the most common is the center-right[15] or the right-wing.[16][17][18]

Menemism is considered conservative by most sectors, although in their governments there were not too many cultural or social policies where we can see it clearly represented.

Political program

Economic model

Menem quickly adhered to the policies of economist John Williamson, who proposed a set of ten specific formulas for developing countries affected by macroeconomic crises, such as a package of tax, trade and labor reforms to stabilize prices, attract foreign investment ; reduce the size of the state, and encourage the expansion of internal market forces.[19] Greater opening of the economy. It implied the entry of financial and productive capital and the entry of goods that compete with national products. This measure once again caused the closure of factories and workshops.

Convertibility plan

By law, the national currency was set at parity with the US dollar. As a consequence, the cost of national production increased and businessmen could not compete with imports. Therefore, production fell and unemployment rose.


Based on Law No. 23,696, better known as the State Reform Law, Menemism in his government implemented a series of massive privatizations of state-owned companies in order to generate a more liberal economy. Menem put the following state companies up for sale: YPF, YCF, Gas del Estado, the National Telecommunications Company, Aerolíneas Argentinas, the Port, the national retirement and pension system, among others. Which translated into strategic relations with the United States and Great Britain, being applauded by conservative leaders of the moment such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.[20]

Decrease in public spending

The decrease in public spending under Menemism was one of the conditions imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to grant credit to the country and sustain the convertibility regime. Public spending went from representing 35.6% of GDP in 1989 to only 18.3% in 1992. This reduction was achieved mainly through the privatization or concession of public companies and services. The decrease in public spending also affected areas sensitive areas such as education, health, defense and security. The budget allocated to these areas was reduced or transferred to the provinces, which had to take charge of financing them with their own resources or with debt. The consequence was a deterioration in the quality and coverage of these services, as well as a loss of public jobs and social rights. Its objective was to achieve a fiscal balance and avoid the monetary issue that generated inflation. However, it also had negative effects on the productive development, employment, income distribution and well-being of the population.[21][22][23][24]

International alignment

Menem's economy ministers were prominent academics and privileged relations with the United States. However, there were differences between the management of Cavallo and that of Di Tella. While Cavallo tried to maintain differences without diplomatic pressure from the United States, Di Tella did not hesitate to adopt a policy of exclusive attention to that country, called "carnal relations." In 1996 changes were observed in this strategy that could mean the abandonment of this policy.


Currently there are various politicians who are usually considered by the political scene as menemistas or vindicators of it. As Mauricio Macri,[25][26][27][28] Javier Milei,[29][30][31][32][33] Miguel Ángel Pichetto[34][35][36][37] or Patricia Bullrich.[38][39]

Some parties that are considered menemists are, for example, Encuentro Republicano Federal.[40][41]


  1. ^ Souroujon, Gastón (December 2014). "La ciencia política argentina frente al menemismo: Preguntas, interpretaciones y debates" [Argentine political science in the face of Menemism: Questions, interpretations and debates]. Ciencia, docencia y tecnología (in Spanish) (49): 1–22. ISSN 1851-1716. Retrieved 29 March 2023.
  2. ^ Fair, Hernán (June 2009). "Una revisión crítica de los estudios sobre el menemismo" [A critical review of studies on Menemism]. Estudios - Centro de Estudios Avanzados. Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (21): 105–129. ISSN 1852-1568. Retrieved 29 March 2023.
  3. ^ Suárez, Fernando Manuel (2009). "Menemismo: ni traición, ni transformismo (1988-1990)" [Menemism: neither betrayal nor transformism (1988-1990)]. XII Jornadas Interescuelas (in Spanish). San Carlos de Bariloche: Departamentos de Historia. Departamento de Historia, Facultad de Humanidades y Centro Regional Universitario Bariloche. Universidad Nacional del Comahue.
  4. ^ Reynares, Juan Manuel (2017). El neoliberalismo cordobés: La trayectoria identitaria del peronismo provincial entre 1987 y 2003 [Cordovan neoliberalism: The identity trajectory of provincial Peronism between 1987 and 2003]. Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Facultad de Derecho y Ciencias Sociales. Centro de Estudios Avanzados. ISBN 9789871751464. Retrieved 29 March 2023.
  5. ^ "Carlos Menem, el neoliberal populista que transformó Argentina" [Carlos Menem, the populist neoliberal who transformed Argentina]. El Mundo (in Spanish). 14 February 2021. Retrieved 2 April 2023.
  6. ^ "Menem, el populista que quiso convertir el peronismo en liberalismo" [Menem, the populist who wanted to turn Peronism into liberalism]. El Español (in Spanish). 14 February 2021. Retrieved 2 April 2023.
  7. ^ Nun, José. Populismo, representación y menemismo.
  8. ^ V., Leslie Wehner (25 February 2015). "El neo-populismo de Menem y Fujimori: Desde la primera campaña electoral hasta la re-elección en 1995" [The neo-populism of Menem and Fujimori: From the first electoral campaign to the re-election in 1995]. Revista Enfoques: Ciencias Políticas y Administración Pública (in Spanish). 2 (2): 25–56. ISSN 0718-9656. Retrieved 4 August 2022.
  9. ^ PERÚ, NOTICIAS EL COMERCIO (2021-02-24). "El parentesco decisionista entre Menem y Fujimori, por Orazio Potestá | Columna | Carlos Menem | Alberto Fujimori | Argentina | OPINION". El Comercio (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-08-04.
  10. ^ Souroujon, G. (2019). "Los imaginarios de la centroderecha argentina. Entre el primer mundo y la autoayuda. Refexión" [The imaginaries of the Argentine center-right. Between the first world and self-help. Reflections]. Política (in Spanish). 21 (42): 129–143. doi:10.29375/01240781.3326. hdl:11336/151937.
  11. ^ "¿Quién es quién en la derecha argentina? (Segunda y última parte) / Bitacora online -". Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  12. ^ "El peronismo y la derecha" [Peronism and the right]. Perfil (in Spanish). 2 October 2021. Retrieved 1 April 2023.
  13. ^ "La derecha exitosa" [The successful right]. Revista Rea (in Spanish). Retrieved 1 April 2023.
  14. ^ Fair, Hernán (January 2016). "Del peronismo nacional-popular al peronismo neoliberal: Transformaciones de las identidades políticas en la Argentina menemista" [From national-popular Peronism to neoliberal Peronism: Transformations of political identities in Menemist Argentina]. Colombia Internacional (86): 107–136. doi:10.7440/colombiaint86.2016.04. hdl:11336/91135. ISSN 0121-5612. Retrieved 31 March 2023.
  15. ^ Souroujon, G. (2019). Los imaginarios de la centroderecha argentina. Entre el primer mundo y la autoayuda. Refexión Política 21 (42), pp. 129-143. doi: 10.29375/01240781.3326
  16. ^ "¿Quién es quién en la derecha argentina? (Segunda y última parte) / Bitacora online -". Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  17. ^ "El peronismo y la derecha". Perfil (in Spanish). 2021-10-02. Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  18. ^ "La derecha exitosa". Revista Rea. Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  19. ^ "Las 10 claves de la economía de Carlos Menem" [The 10 keys to the economy of Carlos Menem]. infobae (in European Spanish). Retrieved 2 April 2023.
  20. ^ "La economía que queda tras 10 años con Menem" [The economy that remains after 10 years with Menem]. La Nación (in Spanish). 25 October 1999. Retrieved 3 April 2023.
  21. ^ "La economía de Menem: transformación económica, estabilidad monetaria y privatizaciones con elevado costo social". LA NACION (in Spanish). 2021-02-15. Retrieved 2023-05-20.
  22. ^ "¿Bajar impuestos o disminuir el gasto público? |". Retrieved 2023-05-20.
  23. ^ "La disminución del gasto público" [The decline in public spending]. El Financiero (in Spanish). 17 July 2019. Retrieved 20 May 2023.
  24. ^ "Convertibilidad: el "uno a uno", la política económica que marcó la presidencia de Menem y terminó en crisis" [Convertibility: the "one to one", the economic policy that marked the Menem presidency and ended in crisis]. (in Spanish). Retrieved 20 May 2023.
  25. ^ "Mauricio Macri reapareció más menemista que nunca". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  26. ^ Página|12 (2022-03-25). "Macri reivindicó a Menem y recibió duros cuestionamientos de Juntos por el Cambio | Sus propios aliados le recordaron que "fundó un Poder Judicial corrupto"". PAGINA12 (in Spanish). Retrieved 2023-04-01.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  27. ^ TÉLAM. "Macri reivindicó a Menem y desde Juntos por el Cambio salieron a cuestionarlo". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  28. ^ Clarí (2022-03-25). "El inesperado elogio de Mauricio Macri a Carlos Menem: 'Será cada vez más reivindicado porque pacificó la Argentina'". Clarín (in Spanish). Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  29. ^ "Martín Menem, el legislador libertario sobrino del ex presidente: "Milei es quien mejor representa las ideas de mi tío"". infobae (in European Spanish). Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  30. ^ Mercado, Silvia (19 November 2022). "El plan de Javier Milei para PBA: armador menemista y dos candidatas a la gobernación". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  31. ^ "Javier Milei: "Menem fue el mejor presidente de toda la historia"". infobae (in European Spanish). Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  32. ^ "Poco días antes de morir, Menem recibió a Javier Milei". Perfil (in Spanish). 2022-06-20. Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  33. ^ Molina, Federico Rivas (2023-03-28). "Javier Milei, el político argentino inclasificable". El País Argentina (in Spanish). Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  34. ^ Pérez, Micaela (19 June 2019). "¿Vuelven los 90? La tropa menemista que Pichetto quiere arrimarle a Macri". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  35. ^ TÉLAM. "Pichetto: 'Menem fue un gran presidente'". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  36. ^ Continental, Radio (2022-09-19). "La banda menemista que Pichetto quiere devolver al poder". Radio Continental (in Spanish). Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  37. ^ "Bajo Palabra: visitas a la oficina de Macri y la fundación "menemista" de Pichetto | Política". La Voz del Interior (in Spanish). 8 March 2022. Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  38. ^ "El menemismo se suma a Juntos por el Cambio y se ilusiona con sumar a Javier Milei". A24 (in Spanish). 26 February 2022. Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  39. ^ "Noticias | La ideología de Patricia Bullrich". Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  40. ^ "Juntos por el Cambio: Miguel Ángel Pichetto lanzó su precandidatura a la Presidencia con Encuentro Republicano Federal" [Together for Change: Miguel Ángel Pichetto launched his candidacy for the Presidency with a Federal Republican Meeting]. (in Spanish). 13 May 2022. Retrieved 1 April 2023.
  41. ^ "Hernández, otro aporte para menemizar al "pichettismo"" [Hernández, another contribution to menemize the "Pichettismo"]. Radio Kermes (in European Spanish). 14 October 2022. Retrieved 1 April 2023.