the second time in five days, he said he would introduce a new style in politics based on respect because Ecuadoreans were tired of "insults, bad manners and arrogance." Alarcon`s election for an interim period of 18 months capped a chaotic week in Ecuadorean politics, triggered by the ouster of populist leader Abdala Bucaram. Bucaram is on a tour of the region to tell Latin American leaders that he was deposed in a disguised coup and to warn "that the same thing could happen to them". Dismissed by Congress on grounds of "mental incompetence", Bucaram, the self-styled champion of the poor, ruled for only six months with a mixture of eccentricities and boorishnessthat earned him the nickname of "El loco" (the madman). The vote to appoint Alarcon until Aug. 10, 1998 was passed by an overwhelming 57-2 majority in the 82-member Congress. He is to hand over on Aug. 10, 1998 to a new democratically elected head of state. General elections are scheduled for early next year and political sources did not rule out an Alarcon candidacy. In his address to Congress, the new president, a man known for sharp negotiating skills, anticipated a period of belt-tightening measures and asked people to be prepared for sacrifices. One of his first decrees, he said, would be to repel unpopular measures contained in an austerity package presented by Bucaram last month, including stiff increases in electricity, gas and public transportation rates. Ecuador`s political turmoil, which at one point saw three people claiming the presidency, led some commentators to wonder if Bucaram was the only madman among the country`s 12 million people. A carnival-like confusion saw the defiant Bucaram initially refusing to step down, doing so only when the military withdrew its support. In turn, Vice President Rosalia Arteaga claimed transitional power under what she said were constitutional rules. Arteaga, who became Ecuador`s first woman president when she took over as head of a caretaker government on Sunday, finally bowed to pressure and left the presidential palace on Tuesday night, returning to her private residence. Arteaga, a 40-year-old former education minister who was Bucaram`s Vice President, said Congress was not constitutionally empowered to appoint presidents. Some analysts said the political turmoil, which unfolded over carnival holidays, might leave deep scars on the small Andean nation`s political scene.