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  • President Alberto Fernandez at the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace, in Buenos Aires, Argentina Dec. 10, 2019.

    President Alberto Fernandez at the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace, in Buenos Aires, Argentina Dec. 10, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 December 2019

President Alberto Fernandez calls Congress to respond urgently to the social debacle created over the last four years of neoliberal policies.

Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez Thursday summoned the Chamber of Deputies to approve the necessary laws to declare economic, health and social emergencies. In order to carry out this decision as soon as possible, a well-defined schedule of meetings and events was established.

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Next Monday, the new ministers will come to Congress to explain the bills related to economic, health, and social emergencies. 

On Tuesday, the Budget and General Legislation committees will hold a plenary to issue an opinion on these bills. On the next day, the Fernandez bills would arrive in the lower house seeking approval.

This schedule was agreed between President Fernandez, the Coordinating Minister Santiago Cafiero, the Legal and Technical Secretary Vilma Ibarra, and the President of the Chamber Sergio Massa.

During the Monday meeting, the new ministers are expected to argue in favor of the emergency declaration by contextualizing the measure with reference to the current lack of a national budget, which reflects the true state of the public accounts that the former President Mauricio Macri leaves.

Ministers are also expected to remind lawmakers that current laws related to health and social emergencies will no longer be effective on January 31, 2020.

Argentina: Alberto Fernandez will ask Congress to declare a triple emergency. The measure will allow implementing projects in economic, health and social matters, through necessity and urgency decrees.

The likely political response of some legislative banks to this whole process, however, may not be very encouraging.

As some right-wing politicians have argued in advance, emergency declarations would grant President Fernandez "discretion" to manage public resources through "necessity and urgency decrees." That is their argument to insinuate their possible opposition to the measure.

In that sense, for instance, the Civic Coalition bloc president Maximiliano Ferraro announced that he will not support the Executive initiative arguing that emergency laws could grant the government "exceptional powers that violate the National Constitution."

Behind this rhetoric, however, the political motivations seem to be different: right-wing lawmakers are reluctant to recognize the magnitude of the social crisis that a neoliberal government, which was led by businessmen and supported by U.S.-controlled international financial institutions, left in Argentina.

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