The Argentine Senate has narrowly rejected a controversial grain export tax increase that has sparked a deep political crisis in the country. 

After 17 hours of debate, the decision came down to Vice President Julio Cobos, who broke a 36-36 tie by casting his vote against the measure early Thursday.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner introduced the tax in March, a move that divided the country, triggered farm strikes and interrupted agricultural exports.

Earlier this month, the lower house of Congress approved the grain export taxes that farmers bitterly opposed.  President Fernandez had asked Congress to debate the measure in an effort to defuse tension over the issue.

Ms. Fernandez defended the increase saying the money would have been used to help the poor. 


Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.