In President Mauricio Macri’s speech before the Legislative Assembly for the 134th opening of Congress, he will be giving details on how he found the State when he came to office on December 10th. The speech will be 45 minutes to an hour long and will be divided in two parts: first, to talk about the “K inheritance” (the “disaster” that the new government was allegedly left with by the previous administration) and second, more focused on the future, to outline the government’s agenda in Congress.
Macri is expected to give various important announcements and put forward proposals:
The elimination of the Lock Law and the Sovereign Payment Law:
This is a necessary step to pay the vulture funds suing the country over defaulted bonds and to get Argentina out of its default. For more on these laws, check out this article by The Bubble.
The government has been in talks with political parties and NGOs since January to reform the electoral system, with an emphasis on three main points: a single (preferably electronic) ballot, a unified voting calendar and an independent electoral council. For more on the electoral reform proposals, click here.
Expansion of family welfare and elimination of IVA tax (VAT) for lower-income sectors
The government plans to extend the Universal Child Allowance to a specific tax bracket of single earners and a to completely eliminate the IVA tax on all basic products for “those under the AUH and retirees.” For more on the government’s tax reforms, check out this article by The Bubble.
Supreme Court vacancies
Given the scandal that followed Macri’s appointment of two Supreme Court justices via emergency decree (DNU), he will probably mention their pending nominations (which he then put forward to the Senate) and urge the Senate to approve them quickly.
Council of Magistrates Reform
Justice Minister Germán Garavano will put forward a set of bills and proposals for what he calls “Justice 2020,” including the modification of the Council of Magistrates, which has the ability to nominate candidates to national and federal judge positions. Cambiemos probably does not feel much urgency to reform this because they just gained a lot of power in the Council, but it will definitely be a heated topic in Congress. For more on the controversy, click here.
The Repentance Law
This law would imply less harsh corruption sentences for those who cooperate with the government by giving information on corruption rings or organizations. Macri’s Cambiemos co-founder, the UCR’s National Deputy Elisa Carrió, has already made it clear that she is not a fan of this proposal, and neither is the Peronist sector of Congress.
Access to Information Law
This measure was announced in a press conference given by Modernization Minister Andrés Ibarra on the government’s plans to modernize the State. The overall objective is to have a digital platform for all three branches (Executive, Legislative and Judicial) in order to have a more transparent State that can be viewed by any citizen.
New Public Ethics Law
Linked to the transparency objective, this is set to bring back a more in-depth system of public officials’ sworn declaration of assets. It will also attempt to restrict the number of family members politicians being employed by the State and the crossover of public officials from the public to the private sector.
There is already a witness protection program, but the government has declared that it wants to improve it for cases of drug trafficking, corruption and human trafficking.
Anti-Bribery Law and Asset Recovery
The Anti-Bribery Law that is being proposed seeks to hunt down public officials and companies that accept bribes. Asset recovery would confiscate good and assets of public officials that were obtained through corruption, even if there isn’t a jail sentence.
The three themes of the speech, written by Marcos Peña and his team, will be the same as the Cambiemos campaign: zero poverty, to unify the Argentine people and to fight drug trafficking.