At least sixteen different organizations from magistrates to political parties filed on Monday legal challenges after Argentine president Cristina Fernandez signed the Council of Magistrates reform into law and called for elections of council members.
The Council reform is one of several chapters of the controversial ‘judicial review’ which Cristina Fernandez is pushing through congress with her operational majority.
“The way the members of the council are to be elected gives absolute predominance to one political party and is contrary to the spirit of the constitution” said Luis Maria Cabral, president of the Argentine Magistrates association.
“We pretend to be elected by our peers”, he added.
“If the legal challenge does not prosper, we will appeal in other ways. You can’t go ahead with a process that is not contemplated in the constitution. The only one that can implement the election of authorities is the very constitution” said magistrate Cabral.
The Executive also called for election of the council members which will take place next 11 August during the open, simultaneous and compulsory primaries and on October 27 when the mid term elections.
Under the new law the number of councillors is increased from 13 to 19, and they will have to be elected by popular vote. Furthermore parties must have representation in all provinces to be able to present a list of candidates, which obviously favours the ruling party.
Judges can be questioned, impeached and ousted by a simple majority, contrary to current procedure which demands a special majority and other previous steps.
However the head of the opposition Radical Party caucus in the Lower House, Ricardo Gil Lavedra confirmed that opposition parties will fix up a unique list of candidates, in line with what the law establishes, just in case there I no ban on the elections.
“I would say this is already decided. We’ll have to see if there is a judicial decision to avoid the implementation of this law,” Gil Laavedra said adding that opposition parties across the country have already agreed to prepare a unique list of candidates in case elections finally take place.
The Radical Party also filed a legal challenge against the new system to elect council members and called for the annulment of the election call.
Likewise, the College of Lawyers of Buenos Aires City formally challenged the reform today and complaint about the state’s “illegitimate and arbitrary behaviour.” Its president, Jorge Rizzo, stressed that the law “violates the constitutional juridical order.”