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Argentina’s new liberal President Javier Miley unveiled a sweeping emergency decree on Wednesday night setting out more than 300 measures to liberalize the country’s economy.
The decree eliminates key regulations covering Argentina’s housing rental market, export customs arrangements, land ownership, food retailers, and more. It also amends rules for the aviation, healthcare, pharmaceutical and tourism sectors to encourage competition. Severance packages for employees will be reduced and the trial period will be extended for new employees.
The new rules also change the legal status of the country’s state-owned enterprises, which include an airline, media companies and energy group YPF, allowing them to be privatised.
“Today we take our first step to ending the regression model in Argentina,” Miley said in a pre-recorded broadcast. “I have signed an emergency decree to begin dismantling the oppressive institutional and legal framework that has destroyed our country.”
The decree represents the fulfillment of Miley’s campaign promise to break sharply from the extensive regulations, high taxes and sprawling public sector introduced by the left-leaning Peronist movement over the past two decades. However, its implementation may put the liberals on the right track towards clashes with the Peronists and their allies in the powerful trade unions in Argentina.
After the broadcast, some Buenos Aires residents banged pots and pans on their balconies in protest. Hundreds of demonstrators attended an impromptu rally outside the Argentine Congress building, chanting: “Our country is not for sale!”
Earlier in the day, the first major protests of Miley’s presidency took place in downtown Buenos Aires, where left-wing campaign groups gathered thousands of demonstrators and called for “an end to Miley’s presidency…”. . . Chainsaw austerity plan.”
Last week, Mali’s Economy Minister, Luis Caputo, announced cuts in energy subsidies, the dismissal of recently hired public sector employees, and a real reduction in the budget of an important social program.
Peronist politicians accused the president of issuing the new states via decree in order to bypass voting on them in Congress, where his La Libertad Avanza coalition has only 15 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives and less than 10 percent of the Senate.
Under Argentina’s constitution, presidents can issue “decrees of urgent necessity” in most policy areas — except tax, criminal, electoral, and political party rules — when “extraordinary circumstances make it impossible to follow normal procedures.” The ordinances remain in effect until both chambers of Congress vote to repeal them.
“There is no necessity or urgency,” German Martinez, leader of the Peronist “Union for the Fatherland” bloc in the House of Representatives, which holds 40 percent of the seats, said on Wednesday afternoon, considering that Milley should call for parliamentary sessions to discuss the matter. . His measures are like bills. “Don’t be afraid of democratic debate,” Martinez added.
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