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Buenos Aires City Legislature


The Buenos Aires City Legislature is a central part of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, as well as an architectural landmark in the city's Montserrat section.

History

The internecine warfare between those who favored a united Argentina with a strong central government (Unitarios) and Buenos Aires Province leaders who favored an independent nation of their own (Federales) dominated local political life in the decades following the Wars of Independence and led to the 1880 Federalization of Buenos Aires. Pursuant to this new policy, in 1882 President Julio Roca signed National Law 1260, which created the presidential prerogative of the appointment of the Mayor of Buenos Aires, as well as a city council by way of compromise towards the put-upon local gentry.

The newly-formed city council (Consejo Deliberante) originally included 30 Concejales elected via male suffrage . The body first met during the tenure of Mayor Torcuato de Alvear, with whom a precedent for a productive relationship was established by cooperating on an unprecedented urban planning a renewal agenda. The council's resolution in 1921 for new grounds befitting a governing body of what had become one of the world's most prosperous cities was likewise approved by the Mayor at the time, Jose Luis Cantilo.

A lot to the southwest of the Plaza de Mayo was set aside for the new building's construction, whose design was awarded through a competition to local architect Hector Ayerza. Approved and budgeted by the council in 1926, Ayerza's eclectic design drew heavily from French Neoclassical architecture, and construction on the proyect began in August 1927. Built without cost overruns, the new Buenos Aires City Council building was inaugurated on October 3, 1931.

The building has, in the ensuing decades, been home to other noteworthy government agencies, as well. A 1943 coup d'etat marked the advent of leader Juan Peron, who established the Secretariat of Labor and Social Insurance, and set aside a wing in the building for the purpose. Elected in 1946, Peron had the building declared a National Historic Monument, and allowed the First Lady, Evita, to use the Labor Bureau wing for the Eva Peron Foundation . The charitable foundation remained based in the city council building until Peron's overthrow in 1955.

The 1994 reform of the Argentine Constitution led to the rescission of the President's right to appoint the Mayor of Buenos Aires, and with the election of Fernando de la Rua as the city's first directly-elected Mayor on June 30, 1996, an assembly was chosen for the purpose of drafting a new municipal constitution. Approved on October 1, the document created a city legislature in lieu of the city council, and increased its membership to 60 .

Overview

Aside from the legislative chambers themselves, the building's interior features a number of achitecturally noteworthy salons and halls, as well as two libraries. The Golden Salon, reserved for ceremonies and other formal events, was inspired in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles, and Evita's dispatch in her days as head of her foundation is on diplay as the Eva Peron Salon .

The building houses the Esteban Echeverria Library , the Treasure Library , and the Jose Hernandez Periodicals Library; the most complete of its kind in South America, its volumes have recently beed microfilmed.

Architecturally, the building is perhaps best-known for its 26 cornice caryatids , and for its bell tower. The 97-meter (320-foot) tower houses a clock whose system controls 80 others throughout the building, and a carillon made up of 30 bells (totaling over 27 tons).

The body is led by the Mayor's lieutenant, the Vice-Chief of Government (Vicejefe de Gobierno), who acts as President of the Legislature. He (or she) is assisted by three Vice-Presidents and Parliamentary, Administrative and Coordinating Secretaries. The President of the Legislature was, until recently, Gabriela Michetti of the center-right Republican Proposal party. The first disabled individual to occupy the post, Ms. Michetti left this post in April 2009, ahead of the legislative elections that June (where she won a seat in the Argentine Chamber of Deputies); the 1st Vice-President of the City Legislature, Diego Santilli, is slated to replace her.

The body is composed of 23 committees, and the 60 legislators belong to 16 parties (a number of which form part of coalitions). No one party currently holds an absolute majority, though Mayor Mauricio Macri's Republican Proposal (PRO) is currently the largest, with 26 seats. The center-left party led by the President of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her husband and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner, has struggled in Buenos Aires and holds 7 seats in the city legislature. A center-left coalition opposed to them, the Civic Coalition, holds 6, the Dialogue for Buenos Aires party (led by impeached former Mayor Anibal Ibarra) holds 4, and 12 other parties (mostly on the left) share the remaining 17 seats.

See also

Buenos Aires City Hall

References and external links

Official website

Datasheet at Towerclocks.org

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Buenos Aires City Legislature


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