The strikes and demonstrations that have rocked Argentina since the beginning of the year have had the desired effect. In the past few hours, the Progress of Liberty – the party of ultra-liberal President Javier Miley – withdrew the full text of the comprehensive bill, effectively returning it to the starting point of the long legislative process. This is a step backwards that is as dramatic as it is unexpected for Milley, who was unable to obtain the necessary consensus on some key points of the measure, starting with privatization and security-related issues. However, the Argentine president does not appear ready to soften his tone or make concessions. “The class opposes the change that Argentines voted for at the ballot box, we are not willing to negotiate with those who destroyed the country,” Miley said loudly on X. The Argentine president, who is currently in Israel on an official trip, then added that his party intends to continue implementing The program “with or without support” from opposition parties.
The bill that Miley strongly supported was renamed “Omnibus” specifically because it aims to revolutionize various sectors of the Argentine economy, impart a strong neoliberal turning point in the economy and reduce government interventions to a minimum. The huge decree stipulates the repeal of 366 laws, and if approved, it will grant broad powers to Milley, by declaring a “state of public emergency” in various fields, including economic, fiscal, financial, security, defense and tariffs. Energy, health, administrative and social. The state of emergency can last until December 31, 2025, with the possibility of extending it for another two years, effectively covering the entire duration of the presidential term. In this way, Miley will have full powers to decide on issues that, according to the Constitution, fall within Parliament's jurisdiction. Specifically to avoid the country's authoritarian drift, unions and some opposition parties called for strikes and demonstrations across the country.
After announcing the withdrawal of the draft law, the Argentine Minister of Economy, Luis Caputo, tried to downplay it: “The fact of voting on the law or not will not change the economic course,” as he put it. Economic policy is the promise to place significant restrictions on public spending and prevent the central bank from financing the treasury. After stalling on the comprehensive law, the moderate opposition group of supporters reiterated their willingness to allow the massive decree to be approved in the future. The Peronist Union por la Patria's approach is radically different, speaking of Maili's “defeat” and “legislative failure.”
Cover photo: EPA/Gian Ehrenzeller | Argentine President Javier Miley at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (January 17, 2024)
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