Five days before his inauguration, President-elect Javier Milei faces legal barriers that would prevent him from appointing two key officials to his future administration: his own sister, Karina Milei, who is nominated for the General Secretariat of the Presidency, and Rodolfo Barra, the jurist that the libertarian wants to appoint as attorney general of the National Treasury.
In both cases, the problem is the legislation in force. Barra, a former Supreme Court justice and minister under Carlos Menem, is 75 years old. The current law of the Attorney General's Office of the National Treasury sets a limit of 70 years to assume office.
"The Attorney General of the Treasury of the Nation must be an Argentine citizen, not less than thirty nor more than seventy years of age, a lawyer with the qualification issued or revalidated by the Argentine University and have at least eight years of seniority in the profession," says Article 2 of Law 18.777.
In the case of Karina Milei, who was announced as the future Secretary General of the Presidency,she is inhibited by Decree 93 signed by Mauricio Macri in 2018.
Article 1 of this decree, which is still in force, states: "It is provided that no appointments may be made, in any form, throughout the National Public Sector, who haveany relationship of kinship, both in a direct line and in a collateral line up to the second degree, with the President and Vice-President of the Nation, Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers, Ministers and other officials with the rank and hierarchy of Minister. The spouse and the Cohabitation Union are included."
Rodolfo Carlos Barra, appointed to the Office of the Attorney General of the Treasury. Photo: Enrique García Medina
When Alberto Fernández came to power, it was announced that this rule would be modified, but that never happened.
For this reason, if he wants to appoint his sister, Milei must first publish a decree that annuls that article of the law promoted by his political ally. It will clearly be a tailor-made decree to bypass the inhibition that weighs on the president's relatives and his ministers.
In the last few days and after winning the second round, there were a series of casualties in what was supposed to be the front line of the libertarian administration.
Libertarians of the first hour such as former Menem supporters Carlos Rodríguez, Darío Epstein, and Emilio Ocampo, considered by Milei to be the mastermind of dollarization, took a step aside or were displaced.
Deputy and former gubernatorial candidate Carolina Píparo, who had been confirmed by the president-elect himself in the ANSeS and then lowered it to put in the body an economist trusted by Peronist governor Juan Schiaretti.
For the appointment of his sister, Milei could possibly sign as soon as he assumes a new decree that modifies or annuls Macri's 2018 decree.
In the case of Barra, there are more doubts. Last week he was asked in La Nación + if there was any age impediment to take over as Treasury attorney and he answered no.
The Office of the Attorney General of the Treasury is an agency that manages the body of lawyers representing the State. Its current incumbent is the Christian Carlos Zannini.
According to libertarian sources, one option that Barra could handle is to appeal to the case of former Macri official Laura Alonso, who was appointed head of the Anti-Corruption Office even though she was not a lawyer. At that time, the exception was made by decree.
They also talk about the fact that the positions of Attorney General of the Nation can be equated with that of Treasury Attorney General and that the Organic Law of the Public Prosecutor's Office does not set an age limit for being chief prosecutors.
Javier Milei. Photo: Reuter.
The only reference to age is that to be Attorney General of the Nation you must be at least the same age as to be a national senator (30 years old).