The Argentine Justice has Alberto Fernández in suspense less than two weeks before the primary and mandatory elections. The president tries to close an agreement with the prosecutor who is investigating him for having violated his own decree that prohibited social gatherings by participating with a dozen people on the birthday of his partner, Fabiola Yáñez, on July 14, 2020.
The celebration occurred when Argentines were complying with a strict quarantine that barely allowed them to leave their homes and prohibited all kinds of social encounters, but it came to light a few weeks ago after the publication of a photo in which Fernández is seen, a Yáñez and his guests in a room of the presidential villa in Olivos without a mask or respect for social distance. Later videos confirmed the participation of the head of state in the party.
Last Thursday, the prosecutor Ramiro González announced the opening of a criminal investigation against him and the other guests as a result of the complaint filed by an opposition foundation before Judge Sebastián Casanello. Half an hour after the accusation was known, Fernández voluntarily appeared before the Justice and offered to deliver half of his salary for four months to the Malbrán Institute (the main Argentine reference center on infectious diseases) to repair the damage caused and be dismissed.
Fernández, lawyer and university professor of criminal law, “appeared in court in his own right and without a sponsoring lawyer for the purpose of proposing reparation for the potential damage that had been caused”, as reported by the Presidency through a statement. The total amount offered to extinguish the criminal action amounts to 630,518 pesos (about $ 6,300).
In his own defense, the president argued that it is a “crime of abstract danger” and that “there was no impact on the legal good of public health” since no contagion was recorded as a result of the meeting. “Given the non-existence of a harmful result, it is that I submit to the SS consideration the criminal insignificance (not social or moral) of the denounced behavior that has not damaged the protected legal right due to its atypicality or lack of material unlawfulness, and therefore I request that the This complaint is dismissed, “he said in his letter.
The prosecutor must resolve this week on the presidential proposal, as well as on the requests for dismissal of the other nine investigated. For now, it has only positioned itself on one of them, the one presented by Stefania Domínguez, a friend of the first lady. The lawyer rejected this Monday the unconstitutionality proposal presented by Domínguez’s defense against the presidential decree that established mandatory isolation as a measure to prevent the spread of covid-19 in Argentina.
The scandal of the party in the fifth of Olivos (the local press calls it Olivosgate) has been a severe blow to Fernández’s presidential image. The Government is now trying to minimize its impact on the pro-government candidates who are running for the primary elections on September 12, prior to the legislative elections on November 14. In these, half of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies and a third in the Senate will be renewed. The result is key to the margin of action of the Peronist Executive: in the first two years of Fernández’s mandate, the governing coalition Frente de Todos has had a majority in the Upper House, but not in Deputies, where it has had to negotiate each law with the opposition.
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