The House of Representatives once again refers President Javier Milei's mega legislative package to the committees. The debate begins again.

Uniformed people with protective shields and a fire burning behind them.

Debate under police protection: Security forces in front of the parliament in Buenos Aires on February 2

BUENOS AIRES taz | Argentine President Javier Milei has suffered a serious defeat. On Tuesday, the House of Representatives returned the Libertarian president's mega bill to the relevant committees after a majority of parliamentarians refused to vote on key items in the package. So now everything is back to square one and needs to be discussed from scratch.

President Milei presented the mega legislative package at the end of December. In addition to extensive privatization, economic, electoral, social and educational measures, he also foresees a far-reaching restructuring of the state administration. Additionally, the law should allow the president to govern with special powers until the end of his four-year term.

On Friday, after a three-day debate, it was adopted in its entirety with 144 votes in favor from liberal, conservative, moderate and libertarian right-wing parliamentarians. 109 deputies, mostly Peronists and leftists, voted against. What remained pending, however, was the individual vote on each bill, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Of the original 664 bills, 386 remained in the package. Furthermore, the deputies had only granted the president special powers for one year and only in the areas of economy, finance, security, energy, administration and tariffs. With only 38 of the 257 deputies, Mileis LLA is a small minority group. However, the president was intransigent on many points and also insulted parliamentarians as objectors seeking bribes.

Special powers denied

“We asked for some flexibility from the ruling party, but apparently they like to lose,” said conservative deputy Miguel Pichetto ironically. The government's defeat was already evident when the majority of the 257 deputies refused to grant the president the special powers that he had demanded in the areas of energy and security.

After a brief interruption, the leader of Milei's La Libertad Avanza (LLA) party, Oscar Zago, requested that the entire project be sent back to the commissions. There was no further vote on the planned privatization of state-owned companies and the meeting ended to applause from the Peronist faction.

“There were some promises of support and voting that were not fulfilled. But it makes no sense to continue because the law has lost its essence,” commented the Minister of the Interior, Guillermo Francos, representing President Javier Milei, who is currently visiting Israel. From there, Milei spoke through the X platform. “Our government program was voted for by 56 percent of Argentines and we are not willing to negotiate with those who destroyed the country.”