The Supreme Court is expected to decide on the row over in-person classes between the National and Buenos Aires City governments “towards the end of the week,” according to City Hall sources.
Argentina’s national government has yet to present its case despite a deadline that is due to expire Tuesday morning at 9.30am.
The presentation will be made by the National Treasury Procurator (PTN), headed by veteran politician Carlos Zannini, and brings together lawyers representing the Casa Rosada and the legal team from the Cabinet chief’s office.
Zannini aims to demonstrate that – contrary to the argument put forth by City Hall – the decree issued by President Alberto Fernández ordering the suspension of face-to-face classes in the capital is constitutional.
The emergency decree issued by the Peronist leader has just a few days to run and is due to expire at the end of the month.
The national government is expected to argue that no rights have been eliminated by the order, rather that restrictions have been placed on some rights to preserve the health of the wider population amid the coronavirus second wave.
On Monday, Gabriel Astarloa, a lawyer representing the City government, said that he believed the Supreme Court will rule in Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta’s favour.
"We will probably know more about the ruling by the weekend. The restrictions will continue, we trust that the last thing to close will be the schools, because they are still not sources of contagion. But we also trust that the Court will respond on the right the City has to have the last word in this area," he said in comments played out on TV news channels.
"The Supreme Court recognised the original jurisdiction of the City of Buenos Aires and set a very summary, very fast deadline. It set a deadline of five days for the National State to answer the lawsuit, which expires Tuesday at 9:30am. After this, there will be a visit to the Attorney General's Office to issue an opinion on the matter – this opinion is not binding, so the Court has in its hands the final verdict on the matter ", indicated the Buenos Aires official.
Education Minister Nicolás Trotta said Monday that the situation was “incomprehensible,” given the “situation of enormous gravity” facing the Buenos Aires metropolitan area (AMBA).
|It is a time to all work together within the framework of the challenge that lies ahead. What happens in the Metropolitan Area could be replicated later in the rest of the country," Trotta said.
"I want to make it clear that in 19 of the 24 provinces we are having in-person [classes] with strict protocols. Then there are four protocols that have partial presence. Finally, we have the City of Buenos Aires, which is not complying with the measures decreed by the National government,” said Trotta.
According to reports in local outlets, the opposition Juntos por el Cambio coalition held a Zoom meeting on Monday, during which Mayor Rodríguez Larreta reiterated his view that schools and businesses must remain open.