President Alberto Fernández's fiery discourse against the Judiciary in his speech to Congress did not satisfy Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Argentina’s vice-president wanted to hear not only strong presidential messages, but decisions that go beyond the existing request for impeachment of the Supreme Court justices, such as the creation of a new Magistrates’ Council by decree. These differences will continue to exist, each on their own side and with distinct strategies.
Almost an hour and a half into his speech, the president raised the tone, targeting the Court and its federal revenue-sharing ruling favouring Buenos Aires City. Later he spoke of the Lago Escondido scandal, detailing collusion between judges, City Hall officials and businessmen. Fernández went further and pointed the finger at the head of the highest court, Horacio Rosatti, and his deputy, Carlos Rosenkrantz. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner barely made more than a few grimaces. The impeachment request was not enough for her.
Weeks ago, a delegate from the vice-president arrived at the Casa Rosada with a demand: that the head of state issue a Decree of Necessity and Urgency (DNU) to define the new composition of the Magistrates’ Council, the body that hires and fires judges.
"It is strange, they weakened the president for three years and now they come to ask him to take a measure that requires strong political power," said one of the officials closest to the head of state who evaluated the measure with Alberto Fernández.
"This decision could have given the opposition the means to impeach him," they explained, adding: "Was the Kirchnerism that asked for the decree going to guarantee that one of them would not be absent from the impeachment commission and allow Juntos por el Cambio to move against the president? We were going to enter into the paradox of praying to those who ask us for controversial measures so that they do not play against us afterwards."All trust in the ruling coalition, it seems, has been lost.
The Kirchnerite sector of the ruling coalition also seeks the suspension of the PASO primaries, but Alberto Fernández will not let them take charge of the pen. "My aspiration is not to be re-elected, it is for the Frente de Todos to win," he said in an interview with the C5N TV news channel. In the meantime, he will continue to criticise the Judiciary for "meddling" in the Executive branch. In addition, he will speak of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's innocence from the corruption conviction against her. This also annoys Kirchnerism, which wants her to talk about “proscripción” (a ban against her).
The vice-president will soon come out to play a strong role. On March 10, she will reappear in Viedma with a strong speech against the justice system. She has chosen to speak the day after the grounds for her conviction and sentence of six years in prison and disqualification from holding public office will be announced. She will insist that the courts are seeking to ban her and, with absolute protagonism, she will leave behind even more doubts about a possible presidential candidacy. The next day, in Avellaneda, a slogan will be launched: "Luche y Vuelve." Kirchnerism has no other plan and no other candidate that measures up.