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Argentina’s Milei set to counter Congress’ veto of economic reforms by calling referendum

The Argentinian leader insists that his decree enjoys the support of 75% of the citizens

BUENOS AIRES, December 27. /TASS/. Argentinian President Javier Milei said on Tuesday that he was ready to call a referendum if the South American country’s Congress vetoes his emergency degree instituting economic reforms.

"For sure," Milei told a reporter with LN+ television when asked if he would call a plebiscite in such an event. "Let them explain to me why Congress opposes what could benefit people," he added.

Milei insists that his decree enjoys the support of 75% of Argentina’s citizens. The head of state did not disclose the source of his data, however. Pollster DC Consultores earlier conducted an online survey that showed that 71.3% of respondents support Milei’s initiative. Meanwhile, according to polls by Taquion and the Center for the Study of Public Opinion, 56% and 54.4% of those surveyed, respectively, disapproved of the emergency presidential decree.

While Argentina’s constitution enables the president to call a referendum, the text of the basic law stipulates that the results of any such popular plebiscite would not be binding in any case.

Meanwhile, Milei also confirmed that the Argentinian Central Bank would issue banknotes in denominations of 20,000 pesos ($25) and 50,000 pesos ($65) amid soaring inflation. Currently, the largest banknote denomination in the country is 2,000 pesos ($2.50).

Also, the new Argentinian cabinet announced that it would not renew the employment contracts of civil servants hired in 2023. The new measure will affect more than 5,000 public employees. Civil servants hired under legally mandated employment quotas or those deemed "indispensable" will be exempted from the layoffs, however, in accordance with Milei’s decree.

Addressing the nation on December 20, Milei announced he was issuing an emergency presidential decree to mandate a set of urgent measures for deregulating the country’s economy. The brash new leader unveiled 30 basic reforms, including changes to eliminate price controls and a tax reform simplifying international trade rules, as well as steps to privatize companies and facilitate exports. In all, the decree lists more than 300 separate reform measures.