Skip to main content


Argentine senate defies far left rioters, passes economic reform package in effort to revitalize economy

The new reforms will declare a state of economic emergency and give the new president the power to temporarily rescind union rights as part of an attempt to revitalize the South American country's economy

Argentine President Javier Milei
Argentine President Javier Milei | EFE

June 14, 2024 8:50am

Updated: June 14, 2024 8:50am

Argentina’s senate passed President Javier Milei’s economic reform package, marking a major milestone for the new libertarian head of state who vowed to overhaul some of the country’s welfare state policies.

The motion, which was first tied 36-36 in the Senate, passed on Wednesday after 19 hours of debate when Vice-President Victoria Villarruel, stepped in. Argentina’s vice president presides over the chamber and has the power to break legislative ties, similar to the senate process in the United States.

“For those Argentines who suffer, who wait, who do not want to see their children leave the country ... my vote is affirmative,” Villarruel said after breaking the tie.

The 328-article bill will now be reviewed before it is fully approved on Thursday and sent back to Congress’ lower house for approval.

The new reforms will declare a state of economic emergency and give the new president the power to temporarily rescind union rights as part of an attempt to revitalize the South American country's economy.

It will also scale back pensions to ensure they don’t go bankrupt.

Eugenia Mitchelstein, a political analyst at the University of San Andrés in Buenos Aires told The Wall Street Journal, that for Milei, the legislative victory was crucial.

“It was crucial that he showed that he can work with the opposition to get something approved,” she told the U.S. newspaper. “If everything is a conflict, and no negotiation, he won’t get anything done.”

Milei’s Freedom Advances Party only holds 15% of the seats in the national Congress, a fact which made the bill’s passage all the more challenging.

While Milei and Villarruel seem confident that the reforms will offer Argentina a much needed second chance, far left protestors confronted riot police outside the Buenos Aires based Congress, throwing stones and lighting Molotov cocktails and setting cars on fire.

Argentinian media described the riots as a “battlefield” in the wake of several people being injured. MP Cecilia Moreau told the AFP news agency that at least five opposition MPs were hospitalized and officials said 20 police officers were injured.

Argentine law enforcement officials said they detained about 15 people for questioning.

According to reports, protestors shouted, “The country is not for sale, the country is defended.” One banner reportedly read: “how can a head of state hate the state?”

While some demonstrators struggled to push their way into the legislative chamber, police were able to successfully push them back, all the while being assaulted with stones.

Milei, a free market economist and former professor, was elected in November on a platform that pledged to redirect Argentina away from major tax and spend policies that appear to have sunk the country’s economy. He took office on Dec. 10 as Argentina was headed toward what he called a “tipping point” and vowed to “fight tooth and nail” to save his homeland.

The libertarian academic was elected after some argued that his left-wing predecessor, Alberto Fernández, was leading the South American country into ruin.

After six months in office, Milei has stayed the course and has continued to show determination to correct his country’s skyrocketing inflation rate, which is already near 300%.  

Milei praised the security forces for their bravery in confronting the violent protestors whom he described as "terrorists," trying to effectuate a coup that defied the people’s will.

While demonstrators protested Milei’s economic ideas outside Congress, his supporters gathered nearby at a hotel conference titled, “The Rebirth of Liberty in Argentina and Beyond.”

There, one of Milei’s most stalwart supporters, SpaceX and Tesla CEO, Elon Musk offered words of support.

“Milei is doing a fantastic job,” Musk assured the president’s supporters. “I would just encourage the people of Argentina to give him their full support, run this experiment because clearly the policies of the past have not succeeded.” 

Executive Editor

Gelet Martínez Fragela

Gelet Martínez Fragela is the founder and editor-in-chief of ADN America. She is a Cuban journalist, television producer, and political refugee who also founded ADN Cuba.