Thursday, July 17, 2008

That's going to leave a mark

In a stunning development, Argentina's Senate rejected the new export taxes that the Executive branch had imposed on certain agricultural exports back in March. It is stunning because the president's party, the Peronists, also have (had?) a functional majority in the Senate. The vote was tied and the vice president of the country (who used to be a member of the main opposition party, the radicals, but got kicked out when he ran with Kirchner) cast the tiebreaking vote against the tax.

President Kirchner only deigned to put the policy to a vote in the legislature after having first imposed it (and witnessed the sometimes massive demonstrations against it over the last 4 months) in order to try and legitimize the policy, but that has failed (Argentina has been essentially ruled by the executive branch under an emergency decree since the 2001 crisis there, which explains why the tax did not originally come through the legislature).

The voting ended at 4:30 in the morning and all 72 Senators voted. The vice president, Julio Cobos, announced later this morning that he does not plan to resign, and the farmers are jubilant.