Far-right presidential hopeful Javier Milei sent a letter to Economy Minister and Unión por la Patria candidate Sergio Massa on Tuesday, asking him to postpone the presentation of the 2024 national budget bill to Congress until after the October 22 elections.
Milei argued that the proposed budget law, which would take effect in January 2024, imposes an economic policy radically different from the one that La Libertad Avanza has championed and that his coalition had a “competitive electoral performance” in the PASO elections. Milei was the most-voted candidate in August 13’s primaries, earning 29.9% of the vote.
The government must present the budget bill for the period that starts on December 10 no later than September 15, according to Law 25.156.
The letter, which vice presidential candidate Victoria Villarruel co-signed, “respectfully asks the Presidency to consider the possibility of temporarily waiving the obligation” of presenting the bill on time. The letter, however, is not addressed to President Alberto Fernández but to Massa.
“Congress should issue that waiver, not Massa,” Martín Kalos, director of the EPyCA consulting firm, told the Herald. Kalos also said that there could be “legal repercussions” for the government if it didn’t present the bill on time and that Milei could modify parts of the approved budget if elected president or simply refuse to implement it as written.
“It’s a campaign move without a leg to stand on,” said Kalos, who nonetheless acknowledged that budgets should be negotiated with incoming governments in a country as unstable as Argentina.
“Milei could have made this kind of careful request six months ago,” Kalos added. “He’s too late.”
People close to Milei told the Herald that the letter is “a way of conditioning the government to respect the people’s will, which will be expressed in [October 22‘s presidential elections].” The source added that one way to respect the results of the primary elections would be to offer Milei a seat at the table during budget negotiations.
Sources in the Economy Ministry told the Herald that Massa has not considered answering the letter.