By: Jaime Rosemberg
Willing to resist the economic blow that the Casa Rosada gave him, the head of the Buenos Aires government, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, signed today a decree in which he instructs the General Attorney of the City to take legal action against the reduction of participation. The legal offensive will include the request for a precautionary measure that provides for the immediate suspension of the effects of the decree of President Alberto Fernández.
With this administrative act, Rodríguez Larreta implements the strategy that he announced last night to appear before the Supreme Court of Justice to prevent them from taking away 1.18 federal co-participation points, which constitute about 10% of the total budget of the City.
The determination was accelerated after the announcement of President Alberto Fernández, who unilaterally resolved on Wednesday to redirect funds to the province of Buenos Aires as a way out of the wage dispute raised by the police in the country’s most populated district.
“The decision taken by the Government is unconstitutional, so we are going to go to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation to defend the rights of the City. There is a lot of jurisprudence that says that such a decision cannot be taken unilaterally and less than one day to the next, ”the Buenos Aires chief had said in his speech.
And he added: “It was chosen to deteriorate political coexistence. From one day to the next they take the funds from us. It was the opposite of dialogue. Our funds are cut off in the middle of the pandemic. The measure was taken unilaterally, it was an arbitrary and inconsistent decision. The last time the subject was discussed was in March ”.
In the decree issued this morning, he expanded on that criterion. It maintains that the reduction of the percentage of co-participation “is a unilateral act of the National Executive Power and implies a clear violation of constitutional guidelines, the principle of equality between the provinces and other constitutional principles such as progressiveness and legality.”
Article 1 instructs the Attorney General to “promote the corresponding legal action against the National State, for the purposes of declaring the nullity and unconstitutionality” of the Fernández decree. It also asks that “the integrality of the Local Treasury funds that cease to enter in the future due to the application of the decree questioned, plus the legal interest accrued, be restored.” And it warns that “a precautionary measure that provides for the immediate suspension of the effects of the challenged rule” will be requested.
Last night Rodríguez Larreta had been angry, although he promised to continue on the path of dialogue. “The decision is unconstitutional. We are going to go to Court to defend the autonomy of the City ”.
A group of lawyers and constitutionalists began to work on the presentation, which, according to sources from the Buenos Aires Executive, will criticize the “unilateral nature” of the President’s decision, and will ask that it be nullified “immediately” so as not to affect the resources of the city. “If they do not do so, we will have no choice but to cut public works before priority spending, which shows the irrationality of the measure,” argued the sources.
Since early Thursday, Rodríguez Larreta had analyzed the new scenario with his small table: the chief of staff, Felipe Miguel; the Secretary General, Fernando Straface; the deputy head of government, Diego Santilli; and the Minister of the Environment, Eduardo Macchiavelli, who were joined by the Minister of Finance, Martín Mura. Initial estimates caused a sting in officials: about $ 13,000 million for the remainder of 2020, and $ 53,000 million would cease to be received if the lawsuit is not accepted by the highest court in the country.
The conversations later continued with the allies of Together for Change in the city, such as Martín Lousteau (Evolution), Graciela Ocaña (Public Trust) and Paula Oliveto (CC-ARI), aligned with their claim.
“There was a very great political support for the demand and the future strategy,” they said near the head of government, without giving further details. The lawsuit before the Court had been suggested publicly and privately by Lousteau and Elisa Carrió, and reported to the head of Pro, Patricia Bullrich – who led a statement with harsh criticism of the Government – during a day of almost endless calls and zooms. “The demand is a tool to negotiate later. It does not cut the dialogue completely ”, they pointed out from Together for Change in relation to the play.
Tensions with the Casa Rosada
Some officials and leaders of the City broke the silence of the last hours with hints about the plays to come. “Giving up dialogue and finding points of consensus does not get us anywhere. The decision made by the President today only widens the crack, “said Macchiavelli. “It seems that the” we go for everything “discriminates against the districts in which the Frente de Todos has not won and suffers the consequences of an unfair adjustment by the Government,” added the national deputy from Larretista Alvaro González (Pro-CABA) .
How was the relationship with the Government? After the “little message” that Fernández sent him a minute before his announcement – which Larreta did not respond to, according to a Buenos Aires collaborator – from the Casa Rosada they sought to probe the mood of the head of government. “We let them know that the climate was not the best,” said diplomats, close to Rodríguez Larreta, who was preparing to give his political response “very firmly and speaking to all Argentines” to explain his opposition to the cut provided by his until yesterday ally of Balcarce 50.
“He sent me the message at 19:29 and the announcement was made at 19:30. We are going to appeal to the Supreme Court of the Nation, ”said Larreta. Nor did he speak with Axel Kicillof, the Buenos Aires governor, or with another national official. (The nation)