Monday, March 28, 2016
Gov’t close to victory on Senate holdout vote
Omar Perotti (left) and Miguel Ángel Pichetto (right) are two of the Kirchnerite senators who back the bill.
Let’s Change officials don’t want surprises with Peronist leaders as deadline approaches
The Mauricio Macri administration is close to the “all-or-nothing” goal of passing its holdouts bill, as the government-sponsored legislation is expected to reach the Senate floor Wednesday for a final vote.
Leaders from the Let’s Change (Cambiemos) coalition are confident they have already secured support from enough Peronist (PJ) senators who hold 41 of the 72 seats in the Upper House — but don’t want last-minute surprises which could jeopardize the preliminary deal reached with holdout creditors.
As the Herald reported yesterday, Vice-President Gabriela Michetti spent part of last week in meetings with senators to ensure the bill passes. That same day, the Senate Budget and Economy committees cleared for debate yesterday the bill required to put an end to the “vulture” funds conflict.
The bill authorizes the Macri administration to issue US$12.5 billion in debt to cancel the US$11.8 billion pending payment with the holdout funds. At the same time, it repeals the Sovereign Payment and Padlock laws, which prevent the country from offering the holdouts better terms than those the country offered in 2005 and 2010 debt swaps.
Senator Michel Ángel Pichetto — the head of the opposition Victory Front (FpV) caucus in the Senate — distanced himself from staunch Kirchnerite leaders, saying the “homeland or vultures” motto used to reject the holdouts bill was a “chauvinistic” move that did little to solve the country’s economic woes.
It was hardly the only surpirse. Other FpV-PJ senators such as Rodolfo Urtubey (Salta), Dalmacio Mera (Catamarca), Omar Perotti (Santa Fe) and Pedro Guastavino (Entre Ríos) also backed the legislation.
The ruling party’s bill also received support from Carlos Espínola (Corrientes), Beatriz Mirkin (Tucumán), Walter Barrionuevo (Jujuy), Gerardo Zamora (Santiago del Estero), and from two senators from Misiones and two from La Pampa — all of which leads the government to believe that the bill will be passed by a comfortable majority.
Budget committee head Juan Manuel Abal Medina (a one-time Cristina Fernández de Kirchner Cabinet chief) voted against the measure and so did Graciela De La Rosa and Eduardo Aguilar.
The issue is likely to affect the upcoming party elections at the PJ. Resistencia Mayor Jorge Capitanich, who also served as a CFK Cabinet chief, has already warned he would not let “those who betrayed the people’s cause” to lead the Peronist party, a veiled reference to the support some Peronists gave to the holdouts bill in both the Senate and the Lower House of Congress.
Leaders from different Peronist sectors were hoping to come up with a “unity list” ahead of the May 8 internal elections, which could be headed by former San Juan governor José Luis Gioja. But Salta Governor Juan Manuel Urtubey — one of the most pro-dialogue members of the FpV — has proposed himself to lead the party’s “renewal” without the help of staunch Kirchnerite allies.
Pressure from ‘vultures’
On Saturday, the largest “vulture” funds reiterated that they want to be paid on April 14 but expressed their doubts about whether the Macri administration will be able to meet the deadline.
“We want to get paid on April 14, as Argentina promised. No more litigations,” said Aurelius in a brief filed at the United States judiciary.
“The possibility that Argentina will not pay by the deadline is not remotely hypothetical, given that one house of the Argentine Congress has passed a bill conditioning payments on this Court lifting all injunctions and that oral argument will take place on April 13,” Elliott Management wrote in another brief.
Last week, officials close to Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay said the national government will negotiate with the so-called “vulture” funds a new deadline, considering the delayed hearing date announced by the appeals court. The date can be changed only when there’s a mutual agreement between both parties.