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Argentina's interim president suspends debt

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (CNN) -- After 12 hours of overnight debate, Argentina's Congress on Sunday appointed Adolfo Rodriguez Saa as provisional president, and he immediately declared a moratorium on the country's massive $132 billion debt.

Rodriguez Saa, a member of the country's majority Peronist party, will serve until March 3, when new elections will choose a leader for the remaining two years of former President Fernando de la Rua's four-year term.

De la Rua resigned Thursday after two days of bloody rioting sparked by the country's economic woes. The opposition Peronists had refused de la Rua's call to form a coalition government.

CNN's Lucia Newman has more on Adolfo Rodriguez Saa who will guide Argentina until a March presidential election (December 23)

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Outside legislative halls, a small group of protesters banged on pots and pans, complaining that the new appointment would not change things for the debt-ridden country.

Rodriguez Saa said he declared the suspension of the country's foreign debt because Argentina must first address domestic issues, such as hunger and the unemployment rate, which stands at 20 percent.

He said his priority was to create an emergency social plan to address these domestic issues with $350 million that was intended to help pay off the country's debt.

CNN Correspondent Lucia Newman contributed to this report


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