Controversial vice-president Amado Boudou will fill in for President Cristina Fernández and head Wednesday's Argentine Independence Day celebration in San Miguel de Tucumán. The deputy was entrusted with leading the ceremony following a meeting Monday afternoon at the presidential residence in Olivos, as Cristina continues her recovery from pharyngeal laryngitis.
Boudou has been indicted on corruption charges over the purchase of a money printing plant through dummy companies under the name of friends, previous to having the company cleared of all debts and embargoes when he was Economy minister.
The opposition has been asking for Boudou's resignation or absence of leave while the judicial investigation continues.
However the government took the case to the Congressional Impeachment Committee with a majority of Kirchnerite lawmakers, which as was expected dismissed the six impeachment requests against Boudou that followed his indictment in the Ciccone print case.
After a heated debate in the Impeachment Committee, deputies from the Victory Front official political force rejected the requests as the Ciccone probe is still underway.FPV had 17 members out of 31 in the committee, which guaranteed the dismissal as two thirds are needed to pass a petition.
Cristina Fernandez illness has kept the head of state away from official duties since last Wednesday, forcing her to cancel a state visit to Paraguay in the past week and a mini summit in Tucumán when four Latam presidents were planning to show up in support of Argentina's battle against holdout hedge funds.
Based on the Impeachment committee decision, Boudou on Monday filled in for Cristina Fernandez as he greeted Armenian president Serzh Sargsyas in an official function at the San Martin Palace, seat of Foreign Affairs ministry, and not a Government House.
The congressional rejection was made in limine which means opposition forces cannot insist on an impeachment for Boudou under the same arguments in the future.
The meeting was headed by the committee chief, Victory Front lawmaker Adela Segarra, who read a report submitted by pro-government lawmakers who considered an impeachment against Boudou would violate the divisions of powers as there is a judicial investigation underway into the Ciccone case.
Segarra asked the committee to reject all six petitions highlighting that one is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The principle of innocence is a constitutional right. On this ground, I recommend the committee to dismiss the impeachment requests against Vice-President Boudou, as they are based on accusations still under investigation, the committee chief said.
However despite Cristina Fernandez insistence of protecting Boudou (and probably his silence), the hard-core of the Peronist party that next year faces presidential and legislative elections is not entirely pleased with the fact that Boudou should remain in his post.
Even for Peronists having a vice-president indicted on several charges of corruption, acting as interim president is too much to swallow. Besides the presiding Judge in the case Ariel Lijo in a recent visit to the Vatican was blessed by Pope Francis who took time to condemn corruption in politics.
This somehow was expressed by the governor from the province of Tucumán José Alperovich who had previously stated that provisional Senate president Gerardo Zamora, the former chief of Santiago del Estero, would be in charge of leading the act on 9 July.
The ceremonies are practically the same, to replace the president the Senate's provisional president will come, Alperovich had assured.
The main ceremony will take place in the Mercedes Sosa theatre, located in the capital of Tucumán province. The July 9 celebration falls on the same day as Argentina's decisive World Cup semi-final against the Netherlands, which kicks off at 5pm on Wednesday.
Fianally it must be said that President Cristina Fernandez despite her pharyngeal laryngitis episode, is well in command not only for having given instruction to Boudou, but more significant is on permanent contact with Economy minister Kicillof in New York, head of the battle against the holdout hedge funds.