Argentina’s national government will comply with a Supreme Court order that called for it to return federal funds to the Buenos Aires City government even as the president continues disputing the case.
Days after saying he would not comply with the order, President Alberto Fernández wrote on Twitter Monday that he would honour the decision.
Last week, the high court ruled that the government return funds that it had taken from the opposition-led capital city in 2020 and given to Buenos Aires Province, which is run by Fernandez’s coalition. Immediately after the ruling, the president issued a statement attacking the judges for what he said was a political decision.
“Judicial rulings are binding even when they are deemed to be disadvantageous and unfair,” Fernández said. “Respecting the rule of law, I will seek to revert the bad resolution from the court.”
The national government will reimburse the city using local inflation-linked bonds that mature in 2031, Fernández wrote. Supreme Court judges had ordered his government to return some funds to the city but not as much as Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta was seeking.
Fernández’s initial reaction to the ruling raised concern of an institutional crisis and drew sharp rebukes from constitutional experts and political opponents. The president, who studied law, vowed to appeal the decision and asked Congress to begin discussing legislation to regulate the issue of funds transferred to provinces by the national government, known as “co-participation.”
Currently, each province pays a portion of its tax collection into the funds and it gets redistributed by the federal government. Fernández lowered the city’s proportion of funds on the grounds that the capital is much wealthier than the province.
by Patrick Gillespie & Ignacio Olivera Doll, Bloomberg