Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña yesterday lashed out against the opposition. (Argentine Presidency handout)

With burnt out cars still smoldering and about 40 people in custody, the threat of a decree still in the air and mutual accusations between political continuing to mount, today the government is seeking to reboot its effort to pass pension reform.

After yesterday’s scandal inside and out of Congress, and the late night reports about the possibility of a decree to change the pension system, today the government has called for a meeting with governors in the Lower House in order to guarantee support for the bill that was stalled yesterday. According to the Télam news service, the Interior Minister Rogelio Frigerio summoned the 22 governors and Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta for a meeting.

The neighborhood surrounding Congress bearing the signs of yesterday's violence. (Télam / Carlos Brigo)
The neighborhood surrounding Congress bearing the signs of yesterday’s violence.
(Télam / Carlos Brigo)

 

The governors have previously supported the pension deal and their backing was decisive for the Senate vote which approved the bill. In contrast, the provincial leaders have less influence in the Lower House. Cambiemos is in the minority in both houses, and thus requires votes from the opposition to move legislation forward.

Télam has reported that the Casa Rosada will impress upon the governors the need for the reform, and that it will tie the success of the fiscal pact with the provinces with the modification of the pension system. The provinces are keen on the fiscal pact as it will benefit their accounts in the long run. Cambiemos feels aggrieved that some of the lawmakers that are close to the governors did not appear on the floor of the Lower House yesterday.

Another vote on the pensions has been tentatively penciled in for early next week. However, Nicolás Massot, chair of the PRO caucus in the Lower House, has made it clear that if Congress does not approve the reform, the DNU remains on the table. In parallel to the negotiations with the governors, there are also reports of a one-off payment for pensioners who could see their increases diminish in the short term as a result of the new law. Details of that compensation have not been made public.

Télam has also reported that this morning 40 people were in custody in six different locations, awaiting transfer to Comodory Py to be questioned by Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio. Adding to the 40 people who were arrested, at least two lawmakers were injured – with Victory Front (FpV) representative Mayra Mendoza being pepper sprayed in the face – and reporters were struck with rubber bullets. In addition, 12 members of the security forces were injured and 15 cars were damaged in the violence.