The Government anticipates that in the summer the Congress will treat the two pending bills that propose profound reforms in the Justice, although it contemplates the possibility of having modifications, so that they can gather the necessary votes and pass the filter of the Chamber of Deputies, they told THE NATION high government sources.
The two pending initiatives, which have already been approved by the Senate and which are in the lower house, are the judicial reform law, which provides for the creation of 46 new federal courts in the Federal Capital, which include the current 12 of Comodoro Py 2002, and the law that provides for flexible majorities to elect the attorney general of the Nation. Both provoked demonstrations and banners in Congress and in the Obelisk, and the opposition denounced that they were initiatives that sought to consecrate the impunity of Cristina Kirchner.
Congressional sources close to Sergio Massa pointed to THE NATION that the plan in January is to bring positions closer to the allies and the opposition, and to propose the treatment of both projects in February. The initiatives are already included in the extraordinary sessions decree that enables their treatment before March.
The first of the laws is one of the projects that Alberto Fernández presented at the Casa Rosada as one of the pillars of his management, with which it seeks to disconnect the intelligence services from the courts, depoliticize the Justice and remove incidence from the judges of Comodoro Py 2002. In practice, it dilutes the power of Comodoro Py and multiplies the new courts from the merger of the 12 courts of the Criminal and Correctional jurisdiction with 11 of the Economic Penal. This figure will be doubled with the creation of 23 new courts, thus raising the Federal jurisdiction of Buenos Aires to 46 courts. The causes that are initiated once this reform has been sanctioned will fall on the brand-new courts, which will be occupied by surrogate judges for a period of one year, extendable for a further six months, until the contests to elect their holders are held.
This law was despised by Cristina Kirchner, who said that it was not her judicial reform, that she aspired to a deeper one that would propose changes in the Supreme Court. The vice president even complained that the Judicial Branch is the only one of the three branches of the State whose officials are not elected by popular vote.
The other law that is expected to be dealt with in the summer is the one that proposes the reform of the Public Prosecutor’s Office regime and the way to choose a prosecutor. Kirchnerism promoted a change to be able to elect a prosecutor, the head of all prosecutors, because it cannot get the necessary two-thirds in the Senate. His majority is not enough for this and he should convince the opposition. It did not succeed.
That is why he promoted a new law that relaxes the majority necessary in the upper house to elect the new attorney general of the Nation and limits the mandate of the chief prosecutor to five years, with the possibility of re-election in office. Kirchnerism imposed its majority in the Senate. The main modification promoted by Kirchnerism for the election of the chief prosecutor consists of the elimination of two thirds of the votes required for the Senate to agree to the candidate chosen by the president. Instead, from now on it will be enough to gather the absolute majority of the members of the upper house, half plus one of the members, a number more accessible to the ruling party.
The bill approved by the Senate reduces the attorney general’s term to five years, extendable for another five.
Another of the changes, which is resisted by the prosecutors, proposes a disciplinary regime where the majority vote of the Bicameral Monitoring Commission of the Public Ministry is enough to suspend them if they are denounced. This implies that virtually all would be left in commission if they dared to investigate the power. The Government will remain firm in the idea of changing the majorities necessary to elect a prosecutor (a question that Alberto Fernández ended up accepting, although he was not convinced), but which will offer modifications in the disciplinary regime for prosecutors.
He also resists the idea that the attorney be reelected, because that would make it possible for the last years of his mandate to work for politics to renew his position. That is why they are inclined to the idea of extending the mandate to 7 years, without immediate reelection.
Daniel Rafecas is the candidate chosen by President Alberto Fernández to occupy the Attorney General. He has the approval of a part of the opposition, but he has already warned that he will not accept the position if the ruling party eases the number of votes in the Senate to elect him. The government’s idea is to keep Rafecas and, where appropriate, be voted by two thirds of the Senate, although if the new law is successful, an absolute majority will suffice.
The project would also allow him to displace Eduardo Casal as interim attorney, a position he has held since Alejandra Gils Carbó resigned in 2017, as the oldest tax attorney before the Court. Kirchnerism wants to place in their place a more reliable candidate for them, such as the attorney before the Court Víctor Abramovich, former head of CELS.
The Government will have to negotiate these modifications with the bloc of Governor Juan Schiaretti and José Luis Ramón, if it wants them to prosper. Six votes short, they say in Congress.The opposition, on the other hand, will be attentive and is not willing to negotiate even half a letter of these projects. If they are approved, let it be by revealing the vote of the allies, they point out in Together for Change, that they are playing for the judicial reform to be frozen in exchange for the changes in the attorney’s law prosper.
In parallel, there is still work in the Government with the conclusions of the commission of experts that Alberto Fernández convened to propose reforms in the Judicial Power. That body, composed among others by Cristina Kirchner’s lawyer, Alberto Beraldi, proposed to approve a comprehensive law that regulates the functioning of the Court. He also suggested establishing an intermediate court to hear arbitrary cases.
These issues will be analyzed by the President to determine if they take the form of a bill to be introduced in the parliamentary discussion in 2021. This is where Cristina Kirchner wants to finish advocating for Congress to discuss her judicial reform.
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