Monday, July 15, 2024

ARGENTINA | 26-06-2024 17:09

Key law, pact with governors, Cabinet tweaks – the keys to Milei’s relaunch

President returns from abroad and focuses on domestic issues; He expects final approval of the mega reform to give impetus to his pact with governors and pave the way for Cabinet changes.

After returning from his latest foreign tour, President Javier Milei is now firmly focused on domestic issues. 

The La Libertad Avanza leader and his administration faces a key couple of days, two weeks after his sweeping ‘Ley de Bases’ bill cleared the Senate with amendments. This Thursday, it went before the lower house Chamber of Deputies seeking final approval. 

Meanwhile, government sources tell Perfil that the head of state will seek soon make changes to his Cabinet and hopes to move forward with his ‘Pacto de 25 de Mayo’ agreement, a much-trailed fiscal responsibility oact with governors. After failing to meet his May target, Milei now wants it to be signed on another national holiday: July 9, in Tucumán.

The ruling party is fine-tuning the last details of its omnibus bill and fiscal package for final approval in the Chamber of Deputies. If there are no surprises, Milei will notch up its first legislative victory after more than six months in power. However, the government still wants to restore some articles that were rejected and amended by the Senate, including the reinstatement of income tax.

As for his government, Milei must define the role to be held by his special advisor Federico Sturzenegger, the “architect” of Emergency Decree 70/2023 signed by the President soon after taking office and a large part of the ‘Ley de Bases’ bill. 

Sturzenegger, a former governor of the Central Bank, has already been pre-announced as a future minister in the Cabinet but his role and portfolio is yet to be confirmed. For the time being, a meeting between him and Milei to define the reach of his new post has not taken place.

Other major changes coming down the line will be trained at the Argentina’s Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) and the decentralisation of a number of government secretariats that have been placed under the orbit of the Cabinet Chief’s office following Nicolás Posse’s exit. 

Guillermo Francos, who was in charge of the Interior Ministry, has in effect taken over both functions and will need to shed departments.

Presidential Spokesperson Manuel Adorni said at a press conference earlier this month that Sturzenegger’s portfolio may be dedicated to the “modernisation” of the state.

Milei is expected to restructure the government’s organisational chat via a series of decrees that would shift areas from the Cabinet Office to other ministries, based on their jurisdiction and responsibilities. 

Pact and council

The next major domestic date in President Milei’s diary is the signing of his proposed ‘Pacto de 25 de Mayo’ fiscal responsibility agreement. At a rally earlier this month marking the Flag Day national holiday in Rosario, the head of state said the pact would now be signed in Tucumán on July 9.

It is unknown how many provincial governors will turn up and ink the accord. Some, such as Maximiliano Pullaro (Santa Fe), Ignacio Torres (Chubut), Rogelio Frigerio (Entre Ríos), Gustavo Sáenz (Salta) and Raúl Jalil (Catamarca), have already confirmed attendance but many fierce opponents remain, including Milei critic Axel Kicillof (Buenos Aires) and Ricardo Quintela (La Rioja).

Final approval of the ‘Ley de Bases’ bill and its accompanying fiscal package would grant the government essential tools for the changes it is anticipating. It will also allow Milei to move forward with the establishment of his proposed ‘May Council,’ a key part of his ‘Pacto de 25 de Mayo.’

At the rally on June 20, Milei called on the nation’s political authorities, governors, leaders from the main political parties, former presidents and members of the Supreme Court, in addition to citizens, to sign the agreement initially stipulated for May, for “us to start to turn the page in our history together.”

The signing of Milei’s pact will create the ‘May Council,’ which will then develop a number of additional legislative bills to establish the 10 fiscal points outlined in the agreement. 

Intelligence and espionage

Big changes are also expected at Argentina’s intelligence services. According to reports in local media outlets, the libertarian government’s new trustee to lead the AFI, Sergio Darío Neiffert, will take on a “more political and less technical role.”

The Milei administration looks set to rename AFI and restore its original title, the SIDE or State Intelligence Secretariat. Its functions will be divided into four bodies: the Foreign Intelligence Agency (focusing on international crime terrorism), Domestic Security Agency (which will combat organised crime and drug dealing), Cybersecurity (online offences) and a Comptroller (providing oversight on the other three).




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