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Argentina's Senate rejects Milei's 'mega decree' of reforms

March 15, 2024

Milei's 'mega-decree' to change more than 300 regulations in Argentina has been rejected by the Senate, threatening his economic reforms. The move comes as the country struggles with high inflation and poverty.

Argentine President Javier Milei giving his first policy address to parliament on March 1
President Milei assumed office last November promising radical reformImage: Juan Mabromata/AFP

Argentinian President Javier Milei's "mega decree" of deregulatory reforms was rejected by the Senate on Thursday, marking a significant setback for his ambitious economic overhaul plans.

The vote ended 42-25, with four abstentions, challenging the libertarian leader's strategy to address the nation's economic issues.

Opposition Senator Martin Lousteau said he voted against the bill because "it is unconstitutional."

The "mega decree" — which originally contained over 600 articles — still has a chance in the lower house, as both chambers must reject it for it to be completely discarded.

For the decree to become law, a single chamber has to approve it, according to experts. The president's party has a minority in both chambers.

President Milei assumed office last November promising to reduce government expenditure in order to address Argentina's economic crisis, marked by sky-high inflation and widespread poverty.

Argentina's approval of sweeping reforms sparks protest

Milei reforms face opposition

The "anarcho-capitalist" president has proposed three economic reform projects.

His latest "mega decree"  aims to modify or abolish over 300 current regulations. These include limits on rent and the cost of essential goods, easing labor regulations, and ushering in privatization.

Thursday's vote marked Milei's second legislative setback, following the rejection of a different set of proposed reforms last month, known as the "Omnibus Law." The reforms aimed at revising economic, political, and even some certain private life aspects.

It is to return for another round of voting following a revision.

Milei's reform initiatives to revitalize Argentina's economy also include plans to devalue the peso by 50%, cutting transport and energy subsidies, and pausing infrastructure projects.

ss/sri (Reuters, AFP)

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