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Argentine opposition lawmakers try to impeach Fernandez; success unlikely

Argentine opposition lawmakers try to impeach Fernandez; success unlikely

FILE PHOTO: Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez speaks during a brief joint news conference with Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (not pictured) at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain, May 11, 2021. Gabriel Bouys/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

BUENOS AIRES : A group of opposition Congress members will present on Friday (Aug 13) a request for a political trial against center-left Argentine President Alberto Fernandez for "poor performance in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic," lawmakers said.

The request is largely symbolic, with political tensions rising ahead of congressional elections scheduled for Nov 14. Even sponsors of the measure acknowledged they do not have the votes to pass the bill.

Among other charges, they accuse the Peronist leader of violating the country's quarantine rules when he held a small party at his residence. The scandal took hold when photographs of a party held at the Olivos presidential residence surfaced.

The get-together of less than a dozen people at Olivos was reportedly in celebration of the birthday of First Lady Fabiola Yanez in July of last year. A government decree had forbidden such gatherings at the time.

A bill to be presented by members of the Juntos por el Cambio (Together for Change) party in Congress later on Friday calls for Fernandez's impeachment "for violation of measures taken by the authorities to prevent the spread of an epidemic."

This country of 45 million people has had 108,500 deaths related to COVID-19 so far, according to official data.

"This was a crime that had ethical, moral and governance implications," Waldo Wolff, one of the deputies who signed the impeachment request, told reporters.

"Beyond not having the votes, it's is the right time to bring this up on behalf of an enormous number of citizens who agree with us," Wolff said.

Fernandez Chief of Staff Santiago Cafiero acknowledged on Friday that the gathering was "a mistake".

Source: Reuters

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