Miley succeeded in clearing the first parliamentary hurdle to end her megalaw by withdrawing almost half the paragraphs

Javier Miley achieved his first parliamentary victory in Argentina this Friday. After three days of intense debate and tense street protests, Argentina’s Chamber of Deputies voted in favor of the project to abolish the state presented by the far-right government. The initiative had 144 affirmative votes and 109 negative votes. It is a bittersweet victory for Argentina’s president. Miley, who is in the minority in Congress, had to cut the original project’s 664 paragraphs by about half to get the necessary support, but it remains to be seen whether he will have to add even more. The most controversial points – such as the delegation of legislative powers and the privatization of public companies – will be presented for a second vote one by one in the lower house next Tuesday. Once the marathon session is over, one of the longest in the history of Argentine democracy, the Megalaw proposal will go to the Senate, which will make the final decision.

Miley said through a statement on social networks during the debate, “Now the time has come for the representatives of the people to decide whether they are in favor of the independence of Argentina or in favor of the privileges of the caste and corporate republic ” Entered its final stage.

La Libertad Avanza, a party led by Miley, has only 38 of Argentina’s 257 deputies, but has maintained a government coalition with former President Mauricio Macri’s PRO, which has 37 deputies. Other positive votes came from the seats of the Social Democratic Radical Civic Union (UCR), some legislators from regional forces and the Peronists, who left the Union for the Homeland (UXP) coalition, which still retains 99 deputies and is the main force. . , Oppose.

After the general approval of the project of the “Law of Bases and Starting Points for the Independence of Argentina” – known as universal lawDue to the multitude of issues involved, official negotiators are now working overtime to guarantee support for the most controversial points.

The results of the vote on a screen in the lower house of the Argentine Congress on this 2 February.Augustin Markarian (Reuters)

A few days ago, the government abandoned tax reforms proposed by Megalaw, such as tax increases on exports and high-paid workers – which clashed with his campaign promise to reduce taxes – and amendments to the current pension update system meant to reduce taxes. A new one was the reduction in purchasing power of retirees. The package of fiscal measures will be discussed separately with various provincial governors.

Miley also had to give up her claim to have emergency legislative powers for her entire presidential term. In the original wording of the text, it was contemplated that Congress would confer these powers for two years, which could be extended for a further two years. In the approved draft, the term could be extended from one year to another, but this still has to be submitted to a private vote given the misgivings of many delegates about granting extraordinary powers to a President who has repeatedly -The Bar does not hesitate to attack the state. And wants to limit it to minimum expression.

Another article on which there are notably more discrepancies up for vote would be that of privatization. Miley wants to sell off all government companies, but this is an unpopular opinion: polls show that over 60% of the population opposes this and believe there should be exceptions. The initial list has been reduced from 41 to 27 companies and some of the best-known companies, such as oil company YPF, have been left out. Other companies may only be partially privatized.

There is also no agreement on the government’s powers to borrow overseas or on the tightening of security policy requested by Minister Patricia Bullrich. Miley wants to free his hands and get rid of the obligation to go through Congress to get loans, like Macri got $44,000 million from the International Monetary Fund in 2018, which Argentina has yet to return. Is.

Delegates are celebrating the approval of the omnibus legislation this Friday.Natacha Pisarenko (AP)

The debate takes place in extraordinary sessions called by the government during the southern summer holidays. The executive intended to give the project a clean treatment and complete it in two weeks, but rejections led to the deadline being extended. Parliamentary discussion began on Wednesday but was interrupted at midnight and resumed twelve hours later. The dynamics were repeated the next day. With Congress armed with riot forces, the parliamentary marathon resumed this Friday at ten in the morning, while protests were repeated outside the doors. In total there has been more than 30 hours of debate.

police repression

The last two nights there were tense moments in front of the Parliament doors. On Wednesday, federal forces were deployed just after 5 p.m. when a group of protesters called by political parties and left-wing organizations tried to block some streets around Congress. That night, agents repressed the protestors with beatings and gas. There were a few thousand of them and they wanted to voice their disapproval of the bill promoted by the ruling party. “This deployment is unnecessary,” criticized one protester in front of a large number of agents.

Tension escalated the next day, Thursday, when security forces repressed the situation with rubber bullets. More than 20 press workers were hit by shells and at least eight protesters were also detained. According to the government, seven agents were also injured. On campus, leftist and Peronist representatives left their benches to take to the street.

The Ombudsman’s Office of the City of Buenos Aires criticized the “institutional violence shown” and the Prosecutor’s Office condemned the “repressive operation” that “violated the Public Security Law”, according to which the rights of “they participate” In security demonstrations. On the other hand, Security Minister Patricia Bullrich assessed that the incidents were not “serious” and asked journalists to wear badges during coverage “because if not, we don’t know.” The presidential spokesman, Manuel Adorni, congratulated the agents for “titanic work”. “We are doing what is right. “We are not prepared to let the debate be stopped by a small group of violent people,” he said at a government press conference.

This Friday the protesters returned to the square. “Thousands of us went everywhere to shout,” read a banner displayed in front of Congress. On a day when the maximum temperature in Buenos Aires was more than 38 degrees and with a history of previous nights of repression, a few thousand The Protestants had gathered. This Friday, actions called by other union, political and cultural groups were added to the first concentrations called by political parties and leftist organizations. There were artists playing music and a call to “occupy all the streets” with cars, motorcycles, bicycles “or any type of vehicle”, which was followed with little effect. “We don’t want to upset Minister Patricia Bullrich. For this reason, we get creative,” says the invitation, which challenges the head of the security portfolio and the protocols imposed in December to ban road closures.

Police arrested a protester outside Congress on 1 January.Augustin Markarian (Reuters)

The people gathered at Congress Square came to know the result of the vote a few minutes late. An artist who was preparing to sing a milonga on stage in protest got upset and interrupted the music. When he heard this news, he reported it to those present, who loudly called for a “general strike”. “This is a normal vote. The special will continue next week. It is important that we know that the fight continues,” one of the attendees interjected. The artist, Juliet Lasso, asked not to leave the streets and returned with a song by Los Redonditos de Ricota, artillery blues: “Let’s not leave the streets, let’s stay here.”

Since taking office on December 10, Miley has already faced a general strike and several protests, but everything suggests that social conflict will increase starting in March, when the school year starts and the impact Begin to feel more strongly. The country is suffering. In mid-2023, four out of every ten Argentine residents were poor – and almost six out of every ten children – and the next official data will be even worse. Inflation is also rising, even as Argentina has ousted Venezuela from the top of the world stage. Prices are set to rise by 211.4% in 2024 and the pace will accelerate even further in the coming months due to the withdrawal of energy and transport subsidies and deregulation in sectors such as food, fuel and medical and private education.

The protests in recent days, held amid the hottest summer heat, are small compared to other mobilizations, such as the one Macri faced in 2017 when he changed the pension update system or benefits for those in prison. Convicted of crimes against humanity committed during the previous dictatorship. Miley has warned that if his megalaw fails in Congress, the fiscal adjustment would be much more drastic than he initially estimated, cutting public spending by more than $20 billion.

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(TagstoTranslate)Argentina(T)United States(T)Latin America(T)Javier Miley(T)Ultra-right(T)Congress of Deputies(T)Peronism(T)Economy(T)Privatization(T)YPF

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