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Argentine lawmakers approve IMF deal, sending it to Senate


Argentina lawmakers on Friday approved a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to refinance around $45 billion debt.

After a marathon debate in the lower Chamber of Deputies which continued into the early hours of Friday morning amid protests from those decrying the deal, the lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor.

The bill to refinance the debt from the 2018 deal was approved with 202 votes in favor, 37 votes against and 13 abstentions.

The bill will now go to the Senate in the coming days and needs to be approved by the IMF's board.

The session originally began after 2 pm local time on Thursday, lasting for more than 13 hours and concluded around until 3:45 am Friday.

Argentina originally received a historic loan in 2018 during the presidency of Mauricio Macri, a $57 billion loan to tackle a deep economic crisis.

At the beginning of March, President Alberto Fernandez told congress that the IMF agreement was the best deal that could be achieved, providing certainties for Argentines by avoiding the potential impact of a default - with payments set to begin in 2026 and finish in 2034.

He also pledged the deal would not impact the pension or labor systems.

The new deal includes a host of targets oriented towards lowering Argentina’s fiscal deficit and reducing energy subsidies.

The president managed to secure some support from the main opposition bloc, following some concessions.

Some lawmakers, including those in the governing coalition and allies of Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner argued that the deal would exacerbate social conditions for the poor in the South American nation.

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