The Battle for Executive Authority: Milei’s Mega-Decree Faces Constitutional Constraints

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To what extent may Milei use the prospect of a vote to approve his mega-decree? This question has caught the attention of constitutionalists as the Argentine president pushes the boundaries of his executive authority and tests the opposition of Congress. The implications of this situation are significant, as it raises concerns about the limits on executive power and the potential repercussions for the country’s democratic system.

The centerpiece of this controversy is a megadecree that Milei seeks to implement. This megadecree includes provisions for the privatization of public firms, major economic deregulation, and the repeal of legislature-passed measures and regulations. It is a bold move by the president, one that has drawn attention from both supporters and detractors.

In a recent interview with the TV station “LN+,” Milei hinted at the possibility of summoning a public consultation if the megadecree was rejected. When asked about it, he simply replied, “obviously.” However, constitutionalists are quick to point out that the president does not have the authority to make the results of such a consultation legally binding. That power rests solely with Congress, which has the discretion to enact or reject the proposals put forth by the executive branch.

The legality of the megadecree itself is also under scrutiny. Critics argue that it undermines the role of Congress by abolishing over 300 pieces of legislation that have already been passed. Legal proceedings have been initiated by the União Popular party and the Civil Association Observatory of the Right to the City, challenging the constitutionality of the megadecree.

Among those leading the charge against the megadecree is Andrés Gil Domínguez, a constitutional lawyer and doctor of law from the University of Buenos Aires. Domínguez has taken preemptive action by petitioning the court to annul the megadecree, citing a breach of the separation of powers. According to Domínguez, the principles of separation of powers dictate that laws are approved by the Legislative Branch, administered by the Executive Branch, and finally resolved by the Judiciary Branch. Any violation of this principle raises serious concerns about the erosion of democratic checks and balances.

Despite the mounting opposition, Milei remains resolute. He dismisses his detractors with a steely resolve, declaring that he will not back down even if Congress or the Judiciary attempt to impede his plans. The president often highlights the support he enjoys, boasting a 75% approval rating for his megadecree. However, it is essential to note that public support alone does not grant him the power to bypass established democratic processes and constitutional checks.

The tensions surrounding this issue are likely to escalate further. On Wednesday (27), the General Confederation of Labor has called for demonstrations against the new government. The Minister of Security, Patricia Bullrich, has reinforced last week’s repressive protocol, warning protesters to stay on sidewalks and threatening to withhold social subsidies from those who block streets. This response reflects a growing sense of unease and polarisation within Argentine society.

In conclusion, the question of how far Milei can push the prospect of a vote to approve his mega-decree is a matter of utmost importance. Constitutionalists caution that the president’s authority is not absolute, and any attempts to disregard the separation of powers or bypass democratic checks should be treated with skepticism. As Argentina grapples with this political showdown, the fate of its democratic system hangs in the balance.

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