Thursday, May 30, 2024

ARGENTINA | 18-04-2024 17:40

Rebellion in Senate: Pay increase passed by show of hands and without debate

Milei lashes out via social networks after senators vote to approve pay increase; "2025 will see a historic hiding" for the caste, says President.

No hay plata’ – unless you’re the ones voting for increases.

Argentina’s Senate on Thursday approved – by a show of hands and without debate – a bill to increase their pay as from next month after giving a green light to six ambassadorial nominations proposed by President Javier Milei last January.

As reported by the Noticias Argentinas news agency, the net pay of national senators will rise from 1.7 million to four million pesos. 

The initiative was proposed by Senator Juan Carlos Romero (Salta Province) in agreement with other caucuses.

The move comes just weeks after a similar controversy over the pay hike of the senators, voted by themselves. 

President Javier Milei has revived talk of the "caste" in social networks and on Thursday highlighted that the only opposition to the initiative came from his party, La Libertad Avanza (LLA).

The head of state felt this emboldened him enough to forecast a sure victory in the 2025 midterms.

"That’s how the caste works. The only seven votes against came from the senators of La Libertad Avanza. 2025 will see a historic hiding …”, assured Milei in his X (ex-Twitter) account. 

The president also retweeted messages from users criticising the increase in upper house pay.

The increase came as students and teachers at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) protested against massive cutbacks with public classes in the streets and symbolic embraces of buildings in repudiation of the government's austerity measures.

Local news outlets, citing some provincial senators, said the move to increase pay was prompted by this week’s promotion of Presidential Spokesman Manuel Adorni to Secretary of State and the incipient increase in his salary.

Opposition lawmakers initially tried to push through the hike via parliamentary activity, without success. The seven senators of La Libertad Avanza voted against, according to their caucus chief Ezequiel Atauche (Tierra del Fuego).

The move comes some five weeks after Vice-President Victoria Villarruel overturned the increases resulting from last December’s collective bargaining talks, which had triggered friction between the presidential and vice-presidential offices.  

At that time Villarruel was not convinced of the decision with sources close to her leaving it clear that she had only acted at the express request of Milei while aspiring to a consensus decision with the caucus chiefs.



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