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Montevideo, June 21st 2024 - 10:37 UTC



Uruguay: National Party Chairman steps down amid Penades scandal

Thursday, May 23rd 2024 - 18:20 UTC
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I have always defended the rule of law, Iturralde argued in his letter of resignation I have always defended the rule of law, Iturralde argued in his letter of resignation

Uruguay's National Party Chairman of the Board Pablo Iturralde resigned his post Thursday after it was proved he had had a conversation with jailed former Senator Gustavo Penadés who is under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct.

The former lawmaker has been under preventive detention in Florida prison for more than six months after being charged with eleven crimes of retribution to the sexual exploitation of minors, four crimes of sexual abuse aggravated by a crime of rape, corruption of minors, and violent indecent assault.

“By virtue of the disclosure of a private and personal conversation and in order not to compromise my colleagues, nor the institutional functioning of my party, I have taken the decision to resign from my position as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Party,” Iturralde wrote on social media.

He also said it was “absolutely false” that he had “any kind of incidence in the appointment of the prosecutor” to Penades' case. “The facts are eloquent regarding the professional and independent actions of Justice, denying any false accusation, based on capricious interpretations disconnected from reality,” he added.

Irturralde then upped the ante and requested the Prosecutor's Office “to initiate an ex officio investigation with the objective of clarifying the facts so that no doubt remains about this episode.”

“The news regarding the fact that I exercised some kind of incidence in the assignment of the prosecutor in the case of former senator Penadés is absolutely false. Throughout my political career, I have defended in all instances the institutions of the Republic, the rule of law, and the independence of Justice and this has not been the exception,” Iturralde argued in his letter of resignation.

Chats between him and Penades published by the weekly Búsqueda would indicate that the National leader was involved in the case being handed over to Prosecutor Alicia Ghione, who was his friend. He also said it was necessary to push Prosecutor Juan Gómez “so that he shits himself and leaves.”

Upon arriving at her office on Thursday, Ghione said she did not know whether she would continue leading the Penadés case and refused to answer any other questions. “I am not going to make statements, let me work quietly,” she said. “The Prosecutor's Office will answer and make its statements,” she added after admitting in a radio interview that she “sleeps peacefully” because she did “nothing wrong.”

She admitted to having known Iturralde “all her life” but that did not mean she could be singled out as “corrupt.” She added that her only political activity was in her college years during which she met classmate Iturralde.

Ghione also reckoned having spoken with Iturralde about the Penades case.

The National Party, also known as “White”, is the one to which President Luis Lacalle Pou belongs. The political grouping has merged into the so-called Multicolor alliance to defeat the Broad Front (Frente Amplio), a coalition of leftwing groupings that brought the hegemony of Whites and Reds (Colorado Party) to an end. Former President Luis Alberto Lacalle Herrera (1990-1995) -the father of the current head of state- was elected on behalf of the Whites after and before Colorado Leader Julio María Sanguinetti (1985-1990 and 1995-2000).

Categories: Politics, Uruguay.

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