Argentine opposition asks Fernández to abandon judicial reform

(Bloomberg) – Argentine opposition leaders called on President Alberto Fernández to abandon his controversial judicial reform proposal, a day after massive anti-government protests across the country.

The opposition bloc said in a letter sent to Fernández on Tuesday that his Peronist government should focus more on solving the covid-19 pandemic and the economic crisis than on rushing a reform of the justice system that lacks political consensus.

According to the opposition coalition, the bill does not precisely contribute to the climate of unity among Argentines that Fernández has promoted, and the priority must be to find a way out of the economic and social crisis after the pandemic.

The proposal would nearly double the number of federal judges in the Argentine provinces, where many Peronist political leaders rule. The reform would also dilute the power of one of Argentina’s highest courts, Comodoro Py, where the vice president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, has been named in various corruption investigations.

Although the fine print of the reform has not yet been presented, that did not stop the protesters on Monday, who took to the streets of Buenos Aires and coastal towns, in the largest anti-government participation since Fernández took office on Monday. December 10. A key issue raised by protesters at Monday’s marches was their objection to judicial reform.

Political division

The reform comes at a difficult time. It is aggravating the political division of the country, just as some opposition leaders are trying to put aside differences to collaborate with the Fernández government in its response to COVID-19.

Some key political actors did not sign the letter, including the mayor of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, and Fernández’s predecessor, Mauricio Macri, although the former president tweeted his support for the protesters.

Fernández has yet to comment publicly on Monday’s protests. A spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on the coalition letter, signed by several leaders, including Patricia Bullrich, a former security minister and current president of the opposition PRO party.

Fernández’s chief of staff, Santiago Cafiero, criticized the opposition, including Macri, for supporting the protest.

Macri “cannot ignore the irresponsibility of promoting and encouraging a march in the midst of a pandemic,” Cafiero tweeted on Tuesday.

Original Note: Argentina’s Opposition Calls on Fernandez to Drop Justice Reform

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