The “necessity and urgency” decree (DNU) announced last night by “chainsaw” President Javier Milei to dismantle the Argentine economy and impoverish an already poor population, will be challenged in court on grounds that it is unconstitutional. It violates the separation of powers and allows the executive branch to usurp the authority of the legislative branch by dictating laws, which is prohibited by the Constitution. In remarks reported today by El Cronista, Antonio Maria Hernandez, a lawyer from the University of Cordoba, warned that “the Executive Branch, under no circumstances can issue measures of a legislative character, under pain of absolute and irremediable nullity.” Another legal expert, Andres Gil Dominguez, said the DNU “doesn’t establish any situation of an objective emergency, just a need to impose a political project. Congress can work and debate these matters. [The DNU] affects the separation of powers and is against the Republic.”
Leaders of the CGT and CTA trade union federations were in the Senate today, meeting with leaders of the Union for the Fatherland (UxP) Peronist bloc to discuss strategy. There is a sense of urgency that a unified response be crafted right away and discussion of a general strike against the DNU is underway. Axel Kicillof, the popular Peronist governor of the province of Buenos Aires, long a Peronist stronghold, is seen as a key leader who can direct an effective response because of his longtime principled and outspoken opposition to neoliberal policies. He coordinates with other Peronist governors, mayors, and trade unionists, and is also working with former presidential candidate Sergio Massa. He’s been involved in nonstop meetings since last night.
In the Congress itself, the decree must be approved or rejected in its entirety by a bicameral commission, whose members have yet to be selected. Until this happens, the decree remains in effect, but there are some surprises, as leading members of the non-Peronist opposition are not backing the DNU. According to “El Destape,” the president of the Radical Civic Union Martin Lousteau, called the DNU “invalid” and suggested it be replaced by a single law whose individual articles could be voted on separately. Leaders of the conservative Civic Coalition say that any DNU should be issued based on exceptional circumstances, which don’t exist today, and therefore “doesn’t meet the requirements of article 99, insert 3 of the Constitution.”
Especially surprising were the comments of Miguel Angel Pichetto, running mate of former President Mauricio Macri in 2019, who still describes himself as a Peronist of some sort. “This is a Republic,” he said. “The President should govern with the Congress, not against it…. Neither necessity nor urgency are justified” in the issuance of this decree, he said. Some of these individuals say they agree with some parts of the DNU, but oppose implementing policy by decree or having the authority of Congress undermined.