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Amid the brutal repression of protesters outside Congress, the government of the president of Argentina, Javier Milei, approved, this Wednesday (12), in the Senate, in a close vote, the Basic Law and the fiscal package that they intend to reform the Argentine State through an ultraliberal squeeze. The initial text of the reform had been rejected in February.

The reform was approved with the casting vote of the vice-president, Victoria Villaruel, who in Argentina holds the position of president of the Senate, after 36 senators voted against the project and another 36 for approval.

The Basic Law project, previously commonly called the Bus Law, had been having more difficulties to be approved in the Senate than in the Chamber of Deputies, where Milei obtained a victory at the end of April with 142 votes in favor and 106 against, in addition to five abstentions.

Now, the senators are going through article by article, and then the proposal returns to the Chamber of Deputies.

For approval in the Senate, the far-right leader had to give in and agreed to further dehydrate the proposal, which had 600 articles, but was approved with around 200.

Anyone looking at the final version of the package is unlikely to appreciate its initial size, when Milei presented it without any dialogue with deputies or senators. Initially there were more than 40 companies that could be privatized. Since then, eight have remained, including Argentinian Water and Sanitation, or AySA.

Milei backed away from the privatization of Aerolíneas Argentinas, as well as the Post Office and Argentine Radio and Television (RTA).

The areas in which the Executive will be granted the ability to govern without Congress for a year were also reduced from 11 to four: administrative, economic, financial and energy.

In its 238 articles, the Basic Law includes incentives for large investments for 30 years, a labor reform, privatizations, a controversial delegation of legislative powers to the ultra-liberal president, a tax amnesty for Argentines with undeclared assets abroad and an end to import tariffs. .

Bullrich unleashes police on protesters and five deputies are hospitalized

Outside Parliament, Congress Square witnessed a series of violations of the right to demonstrate. Thousands of Argentines were injured when they protested in front of the legislature to pressure senators to reject the Basic Law. At least five opposition deputies who participated in the protest were hospitalized.

In response to police repression, protesters threw stones and Molotov cocktails at security agents and tore down parts of the barricades that were placed to prevent the public from approaching Congress. Some people were left lying on the ground due to the effects of the gas, and around 40 received medical attention at the scene due to skin irritation, the Association against Institutional Violence told AFP, without clarifying the total number of hospitalized people. Cars were set on fire by protesters.

“It is a very violent day. In 40 years of democracy I have never seen repression like this,” opposition deputy Cecilia Moreau told AFP, confirming that five colleagues who were following the demonstration were hit by the gases.


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