Argentina's Senate Thursday passed the bills submitted by the Government of President Alberto Fernández postponing this year's elections and changing earnings taxation for companies.
The Upper House held a virtual session that was marred by technical difficulties.
The mandatory primary elections known as PASO have now been rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic for September 12, while the general (mid-term) elections are to take place on November 14. The motion was passed with consent from the opposition Cambiemos coalition of former President Mauricio Macri by 55 votes in favour, 3 against and 2 abstentions. But speeches or debates were set aside due to technical difficulties.
For that reason, the head of the ruling Frente de Todos bloc, José Mayans, mooted that the project is voted on without debate due to the circumstance they were going through and since there was consensus and it would be practical unanimity.
As the country goes through the second wave of the covid-19 pandemic, the goal of the postponement is to avoid large gatherings which are normal during the coldest days of the year and also to give health authorities yet another month to advance with vaccination.
Opposition lawmakers had demanded that this postponement was to be a one-time-only deal, to which the Frente de Todos has agreed. At the Lower House, the bill was passed with 223 votes in favour, three against and eight abstentions, a level of consensus similar to that achieved at the Senate.
The reform of the Income Tax for companies was also passed Thursday by the Senate with 36 votes in favour and 26 against. As per the new law, collections will be based on the level of accumulated net profits. Economy Minister Martín Guzmán witness the voting process after the closing speeches.
The opposition voted against the bill after warning that it is an increase in the tax pressure on the productive apparatus, according to Martín Loustau, a former Economy Minister under Cristina Fernández de Kirchner who has now joined the ranks of the Cambiemos alliance.
“In Argentina, it seems that it is wrong to be a large company and what is wrong is not to control when they have abuse of a dominant position, what is wrong is not to control mergers or acquisitions, as happened in Kirchnerism, or to never apply a Law of Defense of Competition and destroy it,” he added.