Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Argentina politics: Battle for power heats up

Posted in News and Articles by politicalrisklatam on August 3, 2010

by The Economist Intelligence Unit, August 3rd, 2010.

Argentina’s opposition has been pressing on with a series of reforms, some aimed at limiting the power of the executive branch, particularly in the area of economic policymaking. Others are designed to boost opposition parties’ image ahead of the October 2011 presidential elections and put the government in a difficult position. The opposition has had a solid majority in the Chamber of Deputies since December, but the Senate remains evenly balanced, and both government- and opposition-sponsored bills have languished in recent months as a result. Given this, the chances of success of the reform agenda are uncertain. But tensions between the two sides are likely to increase.

 Among the major initiatives presented by the opposition in recent weeks is a long-awaited reform of the Consejo de la Magistratura (the Magistrates’ Council, which is in charge of judicial appointments), which has been approved in the lower house by a vote of 136-86 and now awaits debate in the Senate. This is part of a larger reform to revamp the corrupt and inefficient legal system, which will prove a lengthy and difficult task.

Reforms to the Supreme Court were undertaken at mid-decade by the government of Néstor Kirchner (the husband of the current president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner) and reduced politicisation of the Supreme Court. But the current government’s commitment to the independence of the judiciary is questionable. The Fernández government has had a difficult relationship with the courts of late, which have been forced into the role of arbiter between her administration and the opposition in recent months and have come under pressure to side with the government. (continue reading…)

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