Argentina’s Senate has approved a bill to nationalise the country’s biggest oil company YPF.
The proposal, which will see the government seize the Spanish controlled firm, sailed through the upper house by a majority of 63-3. It is expected to be approved by the lower house next week and become law.
Spain’s Repsol, which currently owns nearly 60 percent of the firm, has called for the decision to be reversed.
Despite international outrage, hundreds of Argentinians have rallied on the streets of Buenos Aires to demand that all of the countries oil resources are nationalised.
They’re suspicious that YPF is being seized, only to be sold on to another foreign oil firm, instead of staying in Argentinian hands. Leftist groups say the move is a false nationalisation.
“The government’s not going to make it a state company as it should be, controlled exclusively by the correct bodies. This is going to be a public limited company, open to foreign or national capital to put food on the table of other people, just as it was putting food on the table for Repsol,” said Juan Carlos Beica, Leader of the Socialist Convergence.
YPF was nationalised in the 1990s after 70 years under state control. Many blame free market reforms for provoking a financial meltdown in Argentina at the turn of the century, from which the country is still recovering.