7 de agosto 2008 - 00:00

Aerolíneas Argentinas renationalization project gets complicated

Secretary of Transportation Ricardo Jaime spoke five hours before legislators to defend official project on Aerolíneas renationalization
Secretary of Transportation Ricardo Jaime spoke five hours before legislators to defend official project on Aerolíneas renationalization
Ricardo Jaime left Congress yesterday sure of having won the first battle of Aerolíneas Argentinas renationalization. However, he actually did not convince the opposition nor even some deputies of the ruling party. He answered questions during five hours, and tried to explain the benefits of the operation closed with Spanish group Marsans. He had to face a rebellion by legislators, who demanded to choose expropriation over share purchase. This idea is being encouraged by rebel Peronist Felipe Solá, who opposes government in this issue as well, and is already looking for support. Ricardo Jaime did not want to talk about the debt amount the State will have to face if it nationalizes Aerolíneas and Austral, and neither about the idea of expropriating the carriers. Kirchnerist optimism will be short lived. Not even the promise that Congress will have the last word in the final valuation of the purchase price was enough to convince the opposition.

Yesterday, Secretary of Transportation Ricardo Jaime spent five hours answering questions from legislators on the renationalization project of Aerolíneas Argentinas and Austral. It was the first meeting held by the Transport and Budget commissions, which will have to make a decision as to whether the project should be approved. The opposition did not accept Jaime's explanations. On the contrary, Radicals are already preparing a criminal accusation against him, which will be presented next week, for not having controlled the company and thus having allowed group Marsans to drain the carrier. In these terms, yesterday the opposition was in no position to agree much with the government official.

There is no doubt that Kircherism problem today is how to discipline its own party troops in order to get the votes needed to approve the project, which does not seduce all government legislators yet because of the high debt that would have to be assumed by the government and the uncertainty about who will manage the carriers. Ricardo Jaime left Congress sure that he had convinced Kirchnerist deputies, but he is still having trouble even among them.

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