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ARGENTINA | 03-01-2023 23:38

President Alberto Fernández launches bid to remove Supreme Court judges

President Alberto Fernández launches parliamentary procedure against the Supreme Court in the latest stage in the executive's power battle with the Judiciary.

President Alberto Fernández has launched a parliamentary procedure against the Supreme Court in the latest stage in the executive's power battle with the Judiciary.

The Peronist leader submitted late on Wednesday a request to the lower house of congress to open a "political process" against the court that he accuses of a "poor performance of its duties." The move is largely symbolic as it has almost no chance of success. 

Lawmakers must now decide whether or not to approve an inquiry into the court's four judges. But with a two-thirds majority of the two houses of Congress needed just to formally "charge" the judges, they will almost certainly avoid being removed. Fernández's Frente de Todos coalition does not even enjoy a simple majority in either house.

The president's move comes in response to a Supreme Court judgement last month hotly contested by the executive.

In December, the court increased the amount of federal tax revenue to be allocated to the local Buenos Aires City government.

The president accused the court of "arbitrarily invading the spheres of exclusive powers" of the state. He said the court had carried out a "political judgement linked to an election year."

Argentines will head to the polls in October where Fernández faces a tough job to hold onto the presidency.

The centre-right mayor of Buenos Aires City, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta is expected to be among those challenging Fernández at the ballot box.

Rodríguez Larreta, in response, accused Fernández of wanting to "break the constitutional order" and of wanting to "overrule the laws and change the arbitrator, which in a republic like ours is the Judiciary."

The opposition Juntos por el Cambio coalition, of which Rodríguez Larreta is a part, has already rejected the political move.

Ever since his mandate began in 2019, Fernández has tried unsuccessfully to reform the judiciary.

In a 2022 poll, 78 percent of Argentines said they had either a negative or very negative opinion about the country's legal system.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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