Trial of the Court and license of a minister: the impact of political scandals in Argentina

A project of impeachment to the Supreme Court of Justice and the license request of the Minister of Security of the City of Buenos Aires, Marcelo D’AlessandroThese are the main consequences of the recent and serious scandals that have erupted in Argentina so far.

The chaos that marks the public agenda of the South American country in the midst of an election year began at the beginning of December, when the daily Argentinian time and the portal The Rocket to the Moon published chats in which officials and former officials, directors of Grupo Clarín, judges and prosecutors allegedly agreed to handle evidence of a trip set that he made to Lago Escondido, a luxurious property of the English magnate Joe Lewis in Patagonia.

Justice has already verified, through photographs and other documentation, that the trip existed and that one of the protagonists was D’Alessandro, but neither he nor any of those involved have wanted to explain why they went on vacation together, which, for the positions they hold, it would at least imply undue collusion.

To counteract the scandal, the strategy of the characters involved has been to denounce that they were victims of a ‘hacking’ and of an illegal espionage mechanism for which they hold the Government headed by Alberto Fernández responsible.

Last week, the controversy intensified after the daily Profile reveal new chats in which D’Alessandro probably negotiations court rulings with Silvio Robles, spokesman for the president of the Supreme Court, Horacio Rosatti.

The Security Minister was at the center of the scandal in both cases, since the leaks arise from a ‘hacking’ of his own cell phone, but he has refused to hand it over to justice for an expert.

political chaos

every revelation direct impact on Horacio Rodríguez Larreta’s campaignthe head of Government of the City of Buenos Aires who is one of the main presidential candidates of the right, since D’Alessandro is one of his main officials.

The mayor defended him at all costs, but on Tuesday the situation was already untenable and, finally, he asked D’Alessandro for a “temporary license” request to organize his legal defense.

The scandal is far from over and the judicial investigation of the trip that D’Alessandro made to Lago Escondido with federal judges Pablo Yadarola, Carlos Mahiques, Julián Ercolini and Pablo Cayssials continues; the head of the capital prosecutors, Juan Bautista; the directors of Clarín Jorge Rendo and Pablo Casey; and two former officials of the Federal Intelligence Agency, Leo Bergroth and Tomás Reinke.

If it is verified that Clarín paid for the trip, as the leaks maintain, all can be charged with the crime of bribery. In addition to the conversations, they also come up against D’Alessandro for the alleged collection of bribes.

On the other hand, the published chats, which the licensed minister assures are manipulated, strengthen the recurring complaints by President Alberto Fernández and Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner against a judiciary which, they say, acts like a “mafia”, with partisan rulings in favor of the right, in accordance with their interests, and with zero independence.

On various occasions, both have promoted reforms to the Judiciary that have been resisted by judges, prosecutors and court officials, who have the support of the political and party opposition, under the premise that the Government does not respect the division of powers and only he wants to “ram” justice.

However, the scandals of the trip and the leaks have increased the discredit that justice was already dragging in this country. according to a poll posted to december fines, 75% of Argentines mistrust the Judiciary.

Partly for this reason, the president abandoned moving forward with an unprecedented impeachment trial of the Supreme Court.

Uncertainty

Fernández announced on January 1 the filing of a request for impeachment against the four members of the Supreme Court: Horacio Rosatti (president of the highest justice body and involved in the chat scandal), Carlos Rosenkrantz, Juan Carlos Maqueda and Ricardo Lorenzetti.

The process is long and complex, since the complaint must first enter the Chamber of Deputies, a body that will forward it for analysis to the Political Judgment Commission, which is made up of 31 members, 16 of whom are pro-government supporters.

This implies that the Government has the fair and necessary votes to approve the request for impeachment in the Commission and then turn it around for debate in plenary, where the outlook is more difficult, since the ruling party would need 171 votes (two thirds parts of the total number of seats) and only has 118.

The Government’s bet is that, despite the fact that the political trial does not take place, the sessions that take place in the Commission, where the judges of the Court and other witnesses will be summoned to carry out, serve to show the deterioration of the judiciaryIt further enhances its image and shows that it issues rulings to benefit the right-wing opposition, such as the one it issued last month to favor the head of the Buenos Aires government in the distribution of tax funds.

In addition, with this process, Fernández resumed the political initiative in a year in which he aspires to seek re-election in the midst of a complicated scenario. Since 2021 he has been facing a popularity crisis and, according to surveys, his management has a low valuation of around 20%.

The strategy could be counterproductive, since the Impeachment Trial Commission has presented four processes against the president that are halted, but the opposition can force them to advance in parallel with the trial against the Supreme Court.

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