While Argentine President Mauricio Macri and U.S. creditors bask in the approval of a deal to pay back the country’s predatory vulture funds, former Economy Minister Axel Kicillof has slammed the process as a dirty vote and accused the government of buying off support with promises of public works, Argentina’s digital news outlet El Destape reported Thursday.
“Some members of Congress and senators received calls from their governors telling them that they had to go along with Macri’s project,” said Kicillof, current lawmaker and former minister of economy under former President Cristina Kirchner and outspoken critic of the vulture funds for worsening Argentina’s economic woes. “But not for conviction, but rather a condition to financially assist provinces and give them public works.”
“That is, the votes were bought with public works and assistance for the provinces,” Kicillof added, according to El Destape.
The economist and politician argued that the process involved pressure and extortion and “was not a clean vote.”
The comments come after Argentina’s Senate passed a vote with ease on Wednesday to approve a package to pay off holdout creditors that have held the country’s debt hostage in U.S. courts for over a decade. Support to approve the measure came from across the political spectrum with a vote of 54 to 16.
The vote, combined with the lifting of injunctions in a U.S. court of appeals that had blocked the country from paying the 93 percent of its debt that was restructured after the 2002 default, will allow Argentina to get access to new loans.
It also paves the way for Argentina to pay off the vulture funds, setting a troubling precedent that it pays for creditors to holdout and resist debt restructuring.
Kicillof labeled the Macri administration’s economic policy “classic adjustment plan” that has been justified by hiding the fact that Argentina’s GDP increased in 2015.
Previously, Kicillof has criticized the holdout creditors payout plan by saying “it's easy to settle by giving the vulture funds everything they want.”