The Argentine Senate rejected President Javier Milei’s reform mega-decree

president Javier Milei suffered a new setback this Thursday when the Argentine Senate rejected its mega-decree on economic deregulation issued in December, whose fate now depends on the Chamber of Deputies.

He decree “It is still valid, it will be referred to the Chamber of Deputies and we will see how this story continues,” declared the official Senator Ezequiel A Tauche after the vote, which ended with 42 votes against, 25 in favor and four abstentions.

Minutes later, Milei retweeted a post on his X account in which he called the MPs who voted against her “traitors”.

This rejection comes after the failure of his other major reform program, the “Omnibus Law”, a comprehensive initiative that failed with MPs in February and will be back up for debate with cuts and changes.

What does the decree contain?

The controversial “Decree of Necessity and Urgency” (DNU) 70/2023 repeals or amends more than 300 economic, commercial, labor and civil regulations and is a fundamental part of Milei’s government plan to deregulate and reduce state involvement the Argentine economy.

Beyond the vote this Thursday, much of the DNU will remain in force – with the exception of the chapter relating to a labor reform suspended by the judiciary – because in order for the decree to be annulled by the legislature, it must also be by the legislature is rejected by the Chamber of Deputies.

“For the decree to be approved it is enough that a single chamber agrees, and for its rejection it is necessary that both chambers expressly reject it,” constitutional lawyer Félix Lonigro told AFP.

Political advisor Carlos Fara pointed out that the decree “will not have an easy process” in the Chamber of Deputies.

Fara told AFP that a final rejection of the DNU by MPs would be a “serious blow” to the executive, “because the government’s first two major initiatives were the ‘Omnibus Law’, which has fallen for now.” which represents their government program.”

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Presidential spokesman Manuel Adorni said this Thursday that the government has “Plan B and Plan C” if the decree is rejected in Congress.

It is the first time in 30 years that a DNU has been rejected in a legislative chamber, which by law must consider the “necessity and urgency” decisions of the executive branch.

The laws repealed by the DNU include the law that regulated the rental market, as well as rules that limited the price increases that private medical companies could impose on their customers.

Lonigro stated: “If both chambers reject it, everything will go back to the way it was before,” although the treaties concluded during the period it was in force will remain in force.

Since its entry into force, the initiative has faced opposition from the social sectors concerned, against a backdrop of annual inflation of 276% and a situation in which more than half of the population – almost 46 million people – are below the poverty line.

Two storm fronts

“The DNU is unconstitutional and that is the only thing we have to evaluate. And I don’t say it, the entire spectrum of constitutionalists in Argentina says it,” said senator and president of the Radical Civic Union (center), Martín Lousteau.

Since its announcement in December, several legal experts have publicly expressed that this decree violates the constitution and should be declared invalid by the judiciary.

“Given the current Supreme Court doctrine, I want to say that it is impossible to approve the DNU,” Ricardo Gil Lavedra, one of the judges who convicted the military junta of crimes against humanity in 1985, told AFP. .

For Fara, “the DNU has two storm fronts: one is the Congress and the other is the judiciary. And in the judiciary, a large part of the DNU is mortally wounded.”


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