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ARGENTINA | 21-12-2023 12:50

Ex-Casa Rosada legal chief Vilmar Ibarra questions Milei's reform blitz

Vilmar Ibarra, Legal & Technical secretary to the Presidency during Alberto Fernández's government, has issued strident criticism of Javier Milei's sweeping economic and labour reform package, warning that it is a clear "violation of the division of powers."

Vilmar Ibarra, Legal & Technical secretary to the Presidency during Alberto Fernández's government, has issued strident criticism of Javier Milei's sweeping economic and labour reform package, warning that it is a clear "violation of the division of powers."

Argentina's libertarian president announced in a nationwide address on Wednesday night that he would move to eliminate or change more than 300 rules via an urgent presidential decree, including on rent and labour practices. At least seven major laws by Congress will be repealed, while a series of bills will be sent to the Legislature to alter legislation that needs approval by lawmakers.

Ibarra, a former senator and deputy who has years of experience in writing government legislation and left office just 10 days ago, immediately moved to question whether Milei's reform package is constitutional.

In a long thread of messages on the social network X, Ibarra warned about Milei's proposals, which she described as "authoritarian," and sounded the "alarm."

She also questioned if the decrees were drafted by private law firms, which is prohibited, and called on the La Libertad Avanza to submit his proposals to Congress.
 

Ibarra's alarms

MEGA-Urgent Decree Alarm 1

1- The constitution authorises Urgent Decrees for exceptional circumstances. If an Urgent Decree repeals 300 laws and amends others the Executive Branch is claiming prohibited legislative powers. It is an encroachment on the division of powers.

2- If the announced MEGA-Urgent Decree is issued it will be an unconstitutional, anti-republican decision which starts a path of authoritarianism which ought to cause great alarm.

MEGA-Urgent Decree Alarm 2

3- On the other hand, in order to issue any Urgent Decree, the competent Ministry starts a case file and prepares the bill with the technical reports and the respective legal opinion. If the decision involves various areas of the Government, they should all intervene.

4- Then the Legal and Technical Secretariat assess whether it is properly drafter, that it is lawful and that the President has the constitutional powers to issue it. This is all captured by a report of the Technical Undersecretariat and an opinion of the legal area.

5- Everything leads to the fact that this mega-Urgent Decree may have been prepared by private law firms. This is a second alarm, as serious as the first one. Who has prepared this Decree? If they were private law firms it is extremely serious, and it cannot be allowed or become normalised.

6- Who is paying them? Because, as President Javier Milei says, nothing comes for free. It is inherent to the transparency of acts of government to know who worked on this Urgent Decree to know if they later benefit by its measures.

7- This may be a criminal case for corruption.

MEGA-Urgent Decree Alarm 3

8- Finally, every time a president issues an Urgent Decree, they must provide sufficient grounds and a legal opinion to explain the need and urgency which prevent them from waiting the period it takes to enact a law.

9- It seems obvious to say so, but the announced mega-Urgent Decree ought to be grounded in terms of the urgency and need of every law being repealed or amended, as per Section 99, Subsection 3 of the Constitution.

10- An Urgent Decree is not established to amend or repeal substantive law. Even during the pandemic, when it was necessary and urgent, they were temporary regulations. Congress is there to repeal or amend laws.

11- Lastly, the 600 laws they want to repeal or amend have governed our lives for many years. Only the most anti-republican authoritarianism can encroach on them via an Urgent Decree. There will be people responsible.

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