The Battle for Executive Power: Milei’s Mega-Decree and Constitutional Constraints


The ongoing debate surrounding the extent to which Milei can utilize the prospect of a vote to approve his mega-decree has garnered attention from constitutionalists as the Argentine president challenges opposition from Congress.

In a surprising turn of events, the megadecree put forth by Milei allows for the privatization of public firms, deregulation of the economy, and the repeal of legislative measures and regulations. During an interview with the television station “LN+,” when asked if he would consider a public consultation in the event that the DNU (Decree of Necessity and Urgency) was rejected, the Argentine president simply replied with a resounding “obviously.”

However, constitutionalists who have weighed in on the matter recently have cautioned that it is not as simple as that. Even if the president calls for a plebiscite, Milei does not possess the authority to legally bind the results. The power to summon a legally enforceable public consultation rests solely with Congress. Some individuals even argue the proposed course of action is unlawful, particularly considering that the DNU seeks to abolish over 300 legislations that have already been passed by Congress. As a result, Milei has become the target of legal proceedings initiated by the União Popular party and the Civil Association Observatory of the Right to the City.

One constitutional lawyer and doctor of law, Andrés Gil Domínguez from the University of Buenos Aires, has proactively petitioned the court to nullify the DNU on the grounds that it violates the principle of the separation of powers. This principle dictates that laws are approved by the Legislative Branch, then administered by the Executive Branch, with final resolution falling under the jurisdiction of the Judiciary Branch. Domínguez argues that everything must be governed by the Constitution and human rights treaties, emphasizing the importance of maintaining balance among the branches of government.

Despite the backlash and legal challenges, Milei remains unfazed by his critics and boldly states that he will not back down if Congress or the Judiciary attempts to hinder his plans. He points to his mega-decree’s 75% support rating, as an indication of its popularity, and questions why Congress would oppose a measure that would purportedly benefit the people. However, as tensions escalate, it is expected that there will be more demonstrations against the new government, with the General Confederation of Labor calling for action on Wednesday (27).

Minister of Security, Patricia Bullrich, has maintained a repressive protocol established last week, stating that protesters should confine themselves to sidewalks and warning that those who obstruct streets will be ineligible for social subsidies.

The battle between Milei and Congress continues, with constitutionalists warily observing the developments. Only time will tell how the saga unfolds and what the ultimate fate of Milei’s mega-decree will be.