Argentina's Congress will assess a request to initiate an impeachment process against Justice Minister Germán Garavano, after lawmaker Elisa Carrió decided to follow through on threats to target the minister.
Carrió's anger toward Garavano is long held. However, the latest dispute centres around comments the Justice Minister made about former president Carlos Menem's recent acquittal on 22-year-old arms-trafficking charges.
Garavano's "statements are an embarrassment to the Republic and the separation of the three branches", Carrió said, after the Justice minister stated "it is never good" that a "former president be targeted for arrest or detained preventively". Carrió has been a major proponent of stripping Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of her parliamentary immunity so that the former president-cum-senator face the consequences of several legal investigations against her.
Carrió tested government coalition patience last week, going after her political ally Mauricio Macri's long-term minister.
"I'll become friends with Macri again when he gets rid of Garavano", she told a crow during an event to support small and medium business. "It was a joke", she later clarified.
"People didn't vote for me to cover these things up. Garavano doesn't exist, he was never minister. Daniel Angelici and his puppets manage the Judiciary", she alleged.
The impeachment process is not likely to proceed given a lack of support, even from opposition parties in Congress.
"Garavano's statements don't merit an impeachment request", a source from the Kirchnerite bloc Victory Front (FpV) told Perfil.
One of the president’s major political allies, Carrió, has thrown a cloud of doubt over the alliance she formed with Macri to get him into the Pink House in 2015.
She also took aim at government officials last week over the sacking of three AFIP tax bureau officials, whom she claims were the guarantors of several key investigations into Kirchner-era corruption.
One of the men, Carlos Bo, is a key adviser to Carrió. Another, Horacio Castagnola, had been in charge of investigations into the tax component of two major corruption cases currently before the courts: the underground expansion of the Sarmiento train line and the so-called “notebook scandal” involving alleged kick-backs from public works contracts. Both cases have Macri's cousin Angelo Calcaterra, among other men in the construction sector, in hot water on bribery allegations.