Javier Milei talks about making a change in the country, not 180 degrees, he says, but 540 degrees. From closing the Central Bank to labor reforms, the criminal procedure code and even a possible reversal of the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy (IVE) law.
But for everything he would need a majority in Congress that he will not have. Aware of that, he insists on "plebisciting" the measures, if only to pressure and expose legislators. "They are going to have to whitewash who they defend, who they work for," they say in La Libertad Avanza.
The libertarian's 34-page government plan includes transformations in all areas of government. Only in the chapter on Security, for example, do they propose the reform of the laws of Internal Security, National Defense, the Intelligence Law and the Penitentiary System.
His candidate for vice president, Victoria Villarruel – who is in charge of captaining the issues of Security and National Defense – also assured that they will seek the lowering of the age of non-imputability, another issue that requires debate in Parliament.
But in the event that Milei effectively reaches the Presidency, even improving the percentages of the PASO of last Sunday, he would have only 9 of 72 senators and about 40 deputies out of 257. Numbers that do not even reach the quorum that opens the discussion in each chamber (37 and 129 respectively).
Every time he is asked how he will make his government plan work, he responds the same thing: that he is going to hold a plebiscite.
The tool is provided for in the Constitution. However, the law is clear. For the consultation to be binding, it must be requested by Congress, at the initiative of the Chamber of Deputies. And "the law calling for a binding popular consultation must be discussed in a special session and approved with the vote of the absolute majority." Again, I wouldn't have a number for that.
The Executive, on the other hand, can call for a non-binding popular consultation. That is, it is not obligatory to go to vote and it is not obligatory to obey the result. The last plebiscite that was held was in 1984, in the government of Ricardo Alfonsin, to see if the Peace Treaty with Chile for the Beagle Channel was accepted or rejected.
The law stipulates that only "when a bill submitted to non-binding popular consultation obtains the affirmative vote of the absolute majority of valid votes cast, must it be treated by Congress."
However, ignoring the results can have political consequences. That's where Milei's idea is centered. Expose and confront the legislators – "the caste" for him – to "the people". That is why, on numerous occasions, he points out that he does not need Congress to govern but "the strength of the people."
Weeks ago, the candidate for governor of the space for the province of Buenos Aires, Carolina Píparo, told Clarín: "Javier has already said that he is going to plebiscite many issues. Now, if the deputies are not up to the task and do not support the issues, who are they representing? What interests? I think that's going to be the big debate."
This week Milei even indicated that he would plebiscite the law of Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy (IVE) already approved. He assured that he would hold a plebiscite and in case the majority is against, "he would eliminate the law." Another thing it cannot do, because only the Legislative Branch can sanction and repeal laws. That, again, must pass both chambers.
But in addition, constitutional lawyers point out that it cannot make a popular consultation in criminal matters, nor in matters that require a special majority in Congress or are powers of any of the Chambers, such as tax issues for Deputies and issues of Co-participation for the Senate.
"It can only do it for issues that are within the scope of its competences, issues of public administration," constitutional lawyer Andrés Gil Domínguez added in a dialogue with Clarín.
A source with years of experience in the Senate, states that the option that remains is via Decree of Necessity and Urgency (DNU), although that point also has several limitations. Criminal, tax, electoral or political party issues cannot be regulated via DNUs.