“I have vetoed the bill that was passed in parliament yesterday. It would bankrupt the state and as president of Argentina I can’t allow it,” said Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, speaking from the Casa Rosada last night.
The law, which had been passed a few hours earlier by the tie-breaking vote of vice president Julio Cobos, would have set pensions at 82% of the minimum wage. Remaining funds were to be spent in line with rulings from the Supreme Court.
The text of the veto stated that the bill violated the Financial and Public Sector Administration Law, saying: “All laws that authorise public spending that isn’t part of the general budget must also specify the source of funding for these iniatives.” According to the president, the bill did not fulfil this requirement.
Cobos was caught in a maelstrom of Kirchnerite attacks yesterday, after his vote swayed a 35:35 stalemate in parliament in favour of the pension bill. The president called him a “squatter” but said that she wasn’t putting pressure on him to stand down.
“We don’t want anyone to go, we just want them to comply with the rules of the constitution. You have to have moral authority, you can’t be in the ruling party and take an oppositional stance,” she said.
In a gesture of political unity with the executive, the governor of Buenos Aires province, Daniel Scioli, spoke out in support of the presidential veto: “You can’t bankrupt the state.”
The president said that the law would have a tax impact of $9,280m for the remainder of this year and $40,088 for 2011. She said: “All Argentines will benefit from my decision to veto. Pensioners will see increases in their incomings every six months.”
This is the first complete presidential veto of a law since legislative reforms that came into effect last December.