Monday, May 27, 2024

ARGENTINA | 11-04-2024 16:19

Amid internal crisis, La Libertad Avanza removes head of lower house caucus

Oscar Zago's replacement will be Córdoba lawmaker Gabriel Bornorini, who presides over the General Legislation commission and will now head up crucial 'omnibus' bill debate; Vote was unanimous and Zago announces departure from the La Libertad Avanza caucus in lower house.

La Libertad Avanza lawmakers have removed Oscar Zago as the head of their lower house caucus chief amid an internal dispute.

The City lawmaker was displaced on Wednesday amid drama as the minority ruling party looked to settle a debate over its leadership.

The crisis arrives amid a scandal related to the appointment of Marcela Pagano as head of Congress’ Impeachment Commission. Faced with resistance from party peers and the head of the Chamber of Deputies, Lower House Speaker Martín Menem, Zago was ousted and replaced by Córdoba lawmaker Gabriel Bornoroni.

During a meeting behind closed doors which started just before 9pm on Wednesday, 36 LLA lawmakers met to reorganise the leadership of its caucuses. Motions to remove Zago and replace him with Bornoroni were backed unanimously.

“If you want me to leave, I will,” Zago said earlier, knowing that he was on thin ice, amid accusations of a lack of party discipline and criticism about his alleged inability to “contain” the different factions within the force.

Neither Zago nor Pagano attended the decisive meeting, whereas Menem did. The changes come just days before President Javier Milei’s crucial ‘omnibus’ bill is due to be debated in Congress. The reform proposal has been trimmed but the ruling party does not want to suffer another humiliating defeat in the National Legislature.After being anointed as the new head, Bornoroni made contact with the press and said “there’s still very important work ahead.”

“Today is my turn, tomorrow it could be some other deputy. One deputy does not have to be head of the bloc forever. It’s random. Another deputy could very well take my place, and that’s up to the bloc, which made the decision today,” he declared.

Zago spoke on Thursday about the libertarian internal crisis, distanced himself from President Milei and revealed that he will seek to form his own mini-bloc within the La Libertad Avanza space. He did not rule out the chance of forming his own breakaway caucus.

“I’m still at the head of my political party; there will surely be a bloc. We’ll come together with my deputies, City legislators, and we’ll see if we create an inter-bloc. It could work like in PRO or other parties,” Zago said in a radio interview.

The crisis had intensified amid a push to install ex-journalist Pagano as head of the Impeachment Commission.

Two libertarian legislators – Juliana Santillán, from Mar del Plata, and Lilia Lemoine, from Buenos Aires Province, one of the individuals closest to President Javier Milei – challenged that move and questioned her loyalty. 

Both hinted that Pagano was insufficiently loyal to President Milei.


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