Javier Miley wanted to start the Argentine presidency with maximum accelerator, but after two months he crashed against the Argentine Congress. “Criminals”, “traitors”, “extortionists” and “racist” were some of the insults Miley hurled at opposition representatives, who on Tuesday voted to launch a campaign to abolish the Argentine state, key articles of her star legislative project. Voted against the mega law. They indicated them on the network with name, surname and photo. From Israel, where she was on an official visit, Miley also declared war on provincial governors, with requests for the resignation of senior officials reporting to her, and because of a parliamentary initiative to repeal legal abortion presented by a Feminism was put on alert. Of its representatives.
This has been Miley’s worst week since taking over on December 10. The harsh legislative defeat highlighted Miley’s inflexibility in negotiating despite leading a government with the weakest parliamentary power since Argentina’s return to democracy in 1983: 38 out of 257 deputies and seven out of 72 senators in La Libertad Avanza. Are. “Traditionally the opposition has voted in favor of the first measures of each new president, even if they do not share them, to give him governance tools,” highlighted political scientist Anna Paola Zubaan. It happened with Mauricio Macri and in 2019 with Peronist Alberto Fernández, who began his presidency with a parliamentary minority.
“In this case, it is the same government that killed that possibility by refusing to negotiate further amendments after the project was approved,” says Zubaan. For his colleague Lara Goyeburu there was also the problem of “huge political incompetence in not bringing legislation with previously agreed points to the plenary session”.
Far from self-criticism, Miley and the executive tried to turn the defeat into a victory. The official message then became that the vote had managed to expose representatives who claimed to be in favor of change, but in reality only wanted to maintain their privileges. Those who voted against the government were identified as “castes”; Those who aligned themselves with La Libertad Avanza, “the people.” “We have a very solid and robust stabilization program. We will not allow excesses of politics or transactions. They are corrupt when they talk about consensus. Miley warned in a radio interview on Saturday that ‘long live consensus’ meant ‘long live corruption’, accusing delegates who voted in opposition of having “dirty fingers”.
With bridges broken by those refusing to sign blank checks to Miley, government officials hinted that the Megalaw could be submitted to popular consultation. But there are several obstacles to this path: first, that if a referendum is called by the President, the result is not binding. For this to happen, it needs to be convened by Congress; Second, the minimum period between the call for popular consultation and the date of voting is two months and time, for now, is working against Miley. “Calling a referendum in a country where the economy is not improving is like tossing a coin,” says Goyeburu, adding that too many hopes are being placed on a rapid recovery and if that does not happen, one is likely to quickly become disillusioned. There is risk.
decline in popularity
The President claims that he has the support of 56% of the voters who elected him in the second round. However, surveys show a decline in popularity. “We are monitoring citizen support for the president and it has dropped by more than ten points in these almost 60 days of government,” details Zubaan, co-founder of pollster Zubaan Córdoba. According to the latest data he has, support ranges between 40 and 45%, and he predicts it will continue to fall “as economic measures will continue to hit people’s wallets.”
Miley confirmed that she would stay the course, even if it cost her. “We have not come to continue the usual political games. We’re here to break it down,” Miley said via the network on Friday. “We don’t care about operations, notoriety, newspaper headlines. We do not care about the pressure of those who are ruining this country. We are not playing any game. We don’t mind paying the political price of what we need to do because our objective is to solve Argentina’s problems, not to keep ourselves in power,” he stressed.
Its radical stance means it has more and more open fronts simultaneously. The unions staged a general strike in January and barred labor chapters in court from the megadecree of necessity and urgency with which they had begun to rule. Social organizations call for almost daily actions to demand funds to keep open the free soup kitchens on which the poorest populations depend to avoid hunger. This Wednesday, the sending of a bill to repeal legal abortion awakened feminist movements, which are preparing a major mobilization for next March 8, International Women’s Day.
“It is said that there is usually about a hundred days of honeymoon with the new management. Assuming that is the case, it is closer to ending than it started,” says political scientist Pablo Salinas. The International Monetary Fund estimates Argentina’s economy will shrink by 2.8% this year, and the crisis is already visible on the road. “Consumption has declined, activity has declined and layoffs and capital auctions have begun. We’ll have to see what happens when all this hits Miley hard core,” Salinas questions.
Of the long list of hikes, the one the working class fears most is the cost of public transport. In Buenos Aires and its metropolitan area, where there are approximately 10 million daily trips, the price of bus tickets has quintupled in less than two months (from 52.9 pesos to 270 pesos, i.e. from 0.04 euros to 0.18).
In more remote provinces, the withdrawal of subsidies paid by the state could cause the price of urban buses to rise above a thousand pesos (0.8 euros), a new cause of confrontation between Meily and the governors. Miley has turned off the tap on transfers to the provinces and has ignored the complaints. “The provinces spend money on a lot of things that are less important than transportation. They will have to readjust and adjust their accounts,” the executive said in the face of criticism.
As part of the confrontation with governors, Miley called for the resignation of two high-ranking officials who answered to Peronist leaders: the head of the National Social Security Administration, Osvaldo Giordano, and the Mining Secretary, Flavia Royon.
The more popular support she garners, the more difficult it will be for her to find a new path. All political solutions go through Congress and the resignation request further raises the possibility of a government coalition with former President Mauricio Macri’s PRO. This agreement will increase the strength of the Congress government and increase experience in the cabinet. “This happened spontaneously and naturally after the elections and in the events at the Chamber of Deputies. It flows that way, plus we get along very well,” the president confirmed on Saturday. The two forces had held talks even before Miley’s inauguration and negotiations were stalled. After parliamentary setback, they try again.
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(Tags to translate)Argentina(T)United States(T)Latin America(T)Javier Miley(T)Congress of Deputies(T)Political liberalism(T)Abortion(T)Political protest(T)Buenos Aires