Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Associated Press Explains: Scope of punishment for Argentina’s vice president

BUENOS AIRES ( Associated Press) – Argentina’s Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was sentenced Tuesday to six years in prison and disqualified for life from holding public office for acts of corruption during her presidency between 2007 and 2015. .

The court’s decision has a strong impact because it is the first time that an Argentine vice president has been sentenced while in office and because the Peronist leader is the most relevant political figure in the last 20 years. However, this does not necessitate his immediate arrest as the sentence can be appealed before various instances until reaching the Supreme Court, which will have the last word.

What is the punishment and for what crime?

A federal court composed of three judges convicted Fernández de Kirchner and found him guilty of the offense of fraudulent administration, disqualifying him for life from holding public office – roughly 51 years apart during his two terms. defrauded the state for nearly $1,000 million by awarding the A close businessman constantly works for Lazaro Baez.

What is the effect of the sentence?

The sentence has a deep impact in Argentina because 69-year-old Fernandez de Kirchner is the most important political figure of the past 20 years. She was a legislator, president and now vice-president for two consecutive terms, as well as a center-left sector leader within Peronism, with great potential for street mobilization. It is also the first sentence for a vice president in the exercise of the power and precedes the desperate attack on him on 1 September for which three youths were arrested and prosecuted. The ruling is expected to deepen the rift that divides society between Kirchnerists and anti-Kirchnerists.

This is the first trial of Fernandez de Kirchner and the first request for punishment against him. Other inquests have been closed and several are still open for various crimes. Currently, a high court is considering whether to reopen the case in which the Vice President and his children were acquitted of money laundering charges without an oral and public trial.

What was the prosecutor’s argument?

Prosecutors Diego Luciani and Sergio Mola argued that Baez’s company was a structure created to extort money from the state by directing public works tenders and that it disappeared when Fernández de Kirchner’s term ended. He also claimed that many highway projects had cost overruns and many were never completed. In one of the trial hearings, Luciani said that “we are facing the biggest corruption maneuver the country has ever known” and that it was in force during the two terms of Fernández de Kirchner and the presidency of Nestor Kirchner. (2003-2007). Her husband and predecessor, who died three years after relinquishing power.

What was the Vice President’s defense?

Fernández de Kirchner denied the allegations and accused the court of having a written sentence from the start of the trial and of acting like a “firing squad”. He said the allegations have no legal basis and are based on lies. The centre-left leader, together with his successor in power, former President Mauricio Macri (2015–2019), considered himself persecuted by judicial circles in order to reduce his popularity, remove him from the political scene and Kirchnerism. rejected.

Who was judged?

The court tried 13 defendants, including Fernández de Kirchner, Báez, former Planning Minister Julio de Vido, former Public Works Secretary José López and others who held positions during his and Nestor Kirchner’s administrations.

What is the status of President Alberto Fernandez?

The president has defended the vice president’s innocence, one of the few points of agreement with his partner in power with whom he maintains a cold relationship because of inconsistencies in government management. Fernandez has said that justice has systematically victimized the former president.

Will Fernandez de Kirchner go hunting?

No, because you can appeal the sentence before various judicial tribunals in a process that will go all the way up to the Supreme Court, which has the final word, and which can take years. On the other hand, as vice president – ​​a position to which he was elected until December 2023 – Fernandez de Kirchner has privileges that give him immunity from arrest.

Will the Vice President be able to participate in the 2023 elections?

Regardless of conviction, the law allows any convicted person to run for the presidency or any other elective office, such as a seat in Congress, until the conviction has been confirmed by the Supreme Court.

What if the sentence remains final?

If the Supreme Court confirms the sentence, it will be necessary to see whether until then the Peronist leader is privileged to have an alternative status that ensures his immunity from arrest. In that case, the Constitution provides for impeachment to challenge a convicted person, which requires a special majority of votes in Congress.

Are protests expected?

Kirchnerism has declared itself on alert and in a state of mobilization since prosecutors requested the sentence. There is unanimity within that movement whether a massive mobilization in support of the vice president is appropriate since she was the victim of a failed attack three months earlier around her home during a show of support by her supporters. Some pro-government unions have expressed their intention to take to the streets and strike indefinitely.

Nation World News Desk
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