On February 23rd, Coalición Cívica, a political party member of the opposition coalition Juntos por el Cambio (JxC), announced the presentation of a bill that seeks to authorize the Executive Branch to sign an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), without its details having to be approved by Congress. The remaining coalition partners (PRO and UCR) rejected the proposal. In this sense, in principle, it would not have internal support to be debated. Meanwhile, the ruling party assures that the sending of the agreement is imminent and that “there will not be any kind of secrecy”.
The party led by Elisa Carrió is promoting a bill that seeks to authorize the Executive Branch to subscribe financing programs and/or public credit operations with the IMF, in order to establish a new compliance plan for the obligations established in the 2018 Stand-By Arrangement, “without prejudice to the subsequent control” by the Congress. In short, the bill represents an interpretation of Law 27612 on Strengthening the Sustainability of the Public Debt, which provides that any financing program with the IMF requires an act of Congress expressly approving it. According to Carrió, this law empowers Congress to authorize new indebtedness, but not to discuss the details of the agreements.
The members of Coalición Cívica consider that the approval of this bill would facilitate the approval of the agreement with the IMF in Congress, since it would avoid the discussion of its most difficult aspects (such as the reduction of public expenditure and monetary emission). At the same time, in the grounds of the initiative they warned: “Not agreeing with the IMF would imply a strong and disorderly devaluation, the impossibility of accessing credit with other multilateral organizations, total isolation in geopolitical terms, lack of foreign inputs, impossibility for the industry to maintain jobs, suspension of factories, a clamp on rural inputs such as technological material, auto parts and digital tools. We are talking about extremely serious consequences for our country, especially for the private sector”.
The remaining partners of the JxC coalition distanced themselves from the proposal. In particular, the president of the PRO parliamentary block, Cristian Ritondo, clarified that the bill represents “a position of Coalición Cívica, which is not the one expressed by the national board of JxC or its federal board”. In that sense, for the moment, it would not have internal support to be debated. Neither would it have the support of the ruling party, since the spokesperson of the Presidency, Gabriela Cerruti, reaffirmed that the agreement with the IMF “will be sent to Congress” so that the legislators may know its details. “Once the agreement is in place, which we expect to be in the next few days, it is going to be sent to Congress. There is not going to be any kind of secrecy,” she added.