Giulia Petroni is a journalism student at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
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The government's Cambiemos (Let's Change) coalition failed to reach the quorum to strip Senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of her congressional immunity after calling a vote on Tuesday.
The voting session had been scheduled at 4pm, but half an hour later the Senate’s provisional president, Federico Pinedo, dismissed it. Over a total of 37 senators needed to act against Fernández de Kirchner, only 26 showed up, seemingly convinced that the bid would fail.
Only two legislators from the Parliamentary Federal party took part to the session along with Cambiemos; the Justicialist party and The Front for Victory didn’t attend.
Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio had requested that the Senate strip Fernández de Kirchner of her congressional privileges on Tuesday. If successful, the resolution would have put into effect the judge’s arrest warrant over allegations she took part in a cover-up of the 1994 AMIA Jewish community centre bombing.
Peronist leader in the Senate, Miguel Ángel Pichetto, rejected the move and refused to collaborate with the government's coalition on the grounds Fernández de Kirchner has not yet been charged for any crime.
"It's another stupidity" of the government's, Pichetto said. "I don't believe this session is viable. We have asked the court [trying Fernández de Kirchner over alleged cover-up] for a report. We hope it makes a decision before Tuesday."
Fernández de Kirchner is facing a number of legal battles.
The most recent of which – the so-called "notebooks scandal" — involves allegations she and her late husband, Néstor Kirchner, led a criminal organisation that funnelled money from public works into the pockets of government officials.
She has denied involvement in any AMIA bombing cover-up, saying instead her government’s decision to seek a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Iran was aimed at putting an end to the legal stalemate surrounding the AMIA investigation.
Prosecutors, however, allege the Kirchner governments were offering immunity to accused high-ranking Iranian government officials in exchange for trade deals.