Argentina parliament approves President Milei's reform package

Budget cuts, including the paralysis of public works, coupled with a brutal devaluation of the peso by more than half in December, have strangled purchasing power.
Argentina's president Javier Milei
Argentina's president Javier Milei Photo | AP

BUENOS AIRES: Argentina's parliament handed populist President Javier Milei his first legislative triumph on Friday, approving his economic reform package after months of debate.

"We are going to give President Milei's government the tools to reform the state once and for all," ruling bloc head Gabriel Bornoroni said in his closing speech.

Milei began congratulating himself even before the package was adopted, hailing it as "the greatest fiscal adjustment not only in Argentine history, but in the history of humanity".

His government has applied a drastic, all-out fiscal austerity program, with the aim of achieving "zero budget deficit" by the end of 2024 to tame chronic inflation.

But budget cuts, including the paralysis of public works, coupled with a brutal devaluation of the peso by more than half in December, have strangled purchasing power.

Politically, Friday's green light means "a total success for the government", political scientist and economist Pablo Tigani told AFP.

But in the economic sphere, "it will be a return to the policies of the 1990s, with deregulation, privatization and the unconditional opening up of the economy, which will deal a heavy blow to industry and to national small and medium-sized enterprises."

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