Former Peronist president’s nephew is Milei’s pick to lead Lower House

Martín Menem, a LLA deputy-elect from La Rioja, will be third in the presidential line of succession after the VP and the provisional Senate leader

Javier Milei will propose deputy-elect Martín Menem to preside over Argentina’s Lower House, the president-elect’s team announced Saturday. In the same release, they said that Francisco Paoltroni was picked to be the Senate’s provisional president behind Victoria Villarruel.

“Only members of the ruling party will be in the [presidential] line of succession, as it has historically been the case,” reads the communiqué published on X (formerly Twitter).  

Per the Constitution, Senator-elect Paoltroni will be second in the line of succession after Vice President-elect Victoria Villarruel, while Menem will be third. The decision ended a series of rumors that had been circulating regarding members of other parties potentially taking over both roles.

Martín Menem, nephew of former president Carlos Menem, is 48 years old and was elected as national deputy for La Rioja for La Libertad Avanza (LLA) in the October 22 general elections. He will be sworn in next Thursday in a congressional session scheduled to begin at noon.

Menem, a lawyer and businessman, is a dollarization advocate and a fierce defender of his uncle’s two presidential administrations, which lasted a decade (1989-1999). Over that time span, the president privatized state-owned companies and implemented a “convertibility” scheme that pegged the peso to the U.S. dollar.

Francisco Paoltroni is an agricultural engineer and agricultural producer who formed his own political party to face Peronist Gildo Insfrán, who has been governor of Formosa since 1995. The swearing-in of the 24 new senators and the authorities’ appointment will take place Thursday at 3:00 pm.

The ruling coalition Unión por la Patria (UxP), named Frente de Todos (FdT) in Congress, has a bloc of 33 senators and will be the first minority in the Upper House. It remains to be seen whether the 24 members of the main opposition bloc Juntos por el Cambio (JxC) will remain together after a sector of PRO supported Milei’s candidacy, against the position of other coalition members.

LLA, which will be a part of the Senate for the first time, will be the third largest bloc with seven members.

In the Lower House, FdT is the first minority with 105 deputies (out of a total of 257), although a new bloc format could take place. The situation for JxC is more complex. In theory, they have 93 deputies, but infighting could lead to the bloc splitting up. 

Macri and Patricia Bullrich’s decision to back Milei, together with her decision to join the president-elect’s cabinet, has caused a rift between coalition parties, and it is still unclear what their situation will look like. 

The third biggest bloc in the lower house, or the second, depending on how deep the split of JxC is, will be LLA. In addition to the 38 lawmakers of their own, they will have an additional seven deputies who are politically aligned with Bullrich.

— with information from Télam


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