Macri's address to Congress last year. Photo via Gaceta Mercantil

President Mauricio Macri will kick off this year’s regular legislative session with a “State of the Nation” address before Congress today. The speech is set to begin at 11:30 AM and the president is expected to speak for about 30 minutes, during which he will focus on three main talking points: transparency, education and economic growth.

In regards to the first goal, press reports indicate that the President intends to sign two decrees related to cases in which the state is an interested party — such as the controversial agreement with the company that controlled the postal service during the 90’s, Correo Argentino — and another decree that outlines policy for state bidding. He will also propose criminalizing business corruption.

As for the second talking point, many expect that Macri will talk about his administration’s goal of reforming the juvenile criminal code. One of its most relevant points is the proposal to lower the age at which people can be tried as adults to 14, which was already rejected by several political and social parties. The Government also plans to announce another initiative regarding this issue: a plan aimed at helping young people who don’t work or study, known as Ni-Ni in Spanish.

The last major talking point centers around the fact that Macri’s administration has the “most ambitious” infrastructure plan in history of the country and emphasizes that, according to him, the economy will go back to growing this year.

In Argentina, as any country with polarized political landscapes, Macri will speak before a Congress that is made up of staunch supporters of his alongside equally staunch political opponents. Opposition members — especially Victory Front (FpV) lawmakers — are expected to hold signs making reference to controversies like the Correo agreement. In an attempt to bring calm to the session, leader of the PRO party caucus in the Lower House, Nicolás Massot, requested opposition legislators “respect the opening of Congress’ session” during the speech.

However, criticism will not be limited to the Congress building itself. Various social, community and political organizations began the day by protesting against the government’s policies in the streets near and surrounding Congress. The protest is set to continue at the intersection of Corrientes and Callao until 11:30 AM. It will later move on to the Obelisco, where it will continue throughout the day.

Another group that will show its discontent with the Macri administration is the scientific community, which has been reeling after yet another cut to its budget. Some members of the government’s institute of scientific research, Conicet, will stage a science fair in front of Congress as a form of peaceful of protest. There will be stands about earthquakes, archaeological excavations and positive uses of nuclear energy, among others.