A widow's pension? Or a former president's?
The government has decided that ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner must choose which pension she wants to receive: the one she qualifies for as a former head of state, or the one which she is eligible for as a widow, according to a decree published in the Official Gazette on Tuesday.
The ruling of the Executive Power relates to an administrative claim that began in 2016, decrying a ruling by the Ministry of Social Development.. However, the former president can still take the issue to court, if she wishes to appeal.
Decree 394/2019 bears the signature of President Mauricio Macri, who is seeking re-election in October.
According to a report by Perfil.com, each pension refers to around 400,000 pesos, meaning the former president could claim around double that, prior to yesterday's ruling.
According to reports, the Treasury Attorney's Office suspended the double payment in 2016, saying the former president was already receiving the widow's pension for her late husband and predecessor Néstor Kirchner since 2010 (2003-2007), who died that year. At the time, the Ministry of Social Development also urged the former president to return previous payments she received incorrectly.
Legislation dating back to 1991 established the payment of a lifetime monthly allowance for former presidents, vice-presidents and members of the Supreme Court of Justice. However, one of its articles mentions that such payments are incompatible with those already receiving pension payments.
Fernández de Kirchner's lawyer for matters of social security, Facundo Pastor, said that the claim is based on what the ex-president perceives to be "not pensions, but monthly allocations for life." He described the decree as "an act of propaganda."
At present, it is believed Fernández de Kirchner is only claiming one of the payments, with her legal team saying that many previous public figures – such as late former Supreme Court justice Carlos Fayt – also claimed for two payments yet only drew on one of them.
The case is expected to run.