Senate: In the swamp of negotiations to return to session

Although attention tends to focus on the tensions in the Chamber of Deputies -with its bellicose parity of forces-, it is the Senate who has been paralyzed for more than four months. The last session was in November, when the ruling party managed to approve the candidacy of Martin Donate for the Council of the Magistracy (although later the Supreme Court lowered its thumb), and since then the bench of the front of all He has not been able to add the number to session. The situation is even more delicate since the interblock broke up and a group of wayward senators set out to set up their own block, leaving the ruling party without the first minority. In recent days, however, talks between the FdT and Together for Change to meet on March 30: the expectation was to be able to bring the Upper House out of its lethargy with an agenda that included the specifications of judges from Rosario, as well as the Lucio Law and the Zero Alcohol Law. But a last-minute fight ended up muddying the picture.

The president of the pro-government interbloc, jose mayans, met this week with Humberto Schiavoni (PRO), Luis Naidenoff (UCR), Alfredo Cornejo (UCR) and Mariana Juri (UCR) after a long time. Mayans had already tried to promote a session on February 24 that dealt with some of the projects that had remained pending, but the exodus of four Peronist senators to assemble their own bloc -Federal Unity- ended up changing the plans. And it is that JxC, at that time, held to the letter its decision to block Congress while the impeachment of the Supreme Court judges lasted. “But even Lilita Carrió filed a petition for Lorenzetti’s impeachment,” Mayans reproached the Cambiemite senators at the time. Three weeks later, the thaw came: in Mayans’ office, pro-government senators and opponents began to shuffle some consensus projects. JxC asked for the specifications of the Rosario judges and Mayans proposed to meet on the 30th.

After that meeting, the first response came from federal unit. Offended because they had not been invited to the meeting, the brand new block – made up of Guillermo Snopek (Jujuy), Edgardo Kueider (Entre Ríos), Carlos “Camau” Espínola (Corrientes), María Eugenia Catalfamo (San Luis) and the schiaretista Alejandra Vigo – issued a statement calling a session for March 29. On the agenda they included all the projects that were known to be of consensus – the specifications of judges for Santa Fe and Córdoba and the Lucio Law – and one of their own agenda: an initiative to reduce the electricity rate throughout the country. “They got angry and asked for a session a day before. A totally childish move,” complained an FdT senator.

In the FdT they still do not forgive wayward senators for having broken the interblock, especially those who had been closest, such as Snopek. “Whoever warns does not betray, but a stab like that in the back will charge us,” a pro-government senator told the man from Jujuy when he heard the news. However, beyond the anger, the ruling party knows that it depends on them to achieve a quorum and that it will have to negotiate.

In the Federal Unit, meanwhile, not all of them perceive themselves as “opponents” -or, in any case, they make it clear that they are only “opponents” of Alberto Fernandezbecause several maintain a good link with Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner– and insist that they will not be an obstacle to meeting. “You have to change the dynamics. Seek consensus among all, restore institutionality to the Senate and move forward,” summarized one of the Peronist senators who, when he speaks of “them”, still refers to JxC.

The reality is that, with the accompaniment of the Federal Unit and the usual allies -read: Alberto Weretilneck, Magdalena Solari Quintana and Clara Vega-, the FdT reaches a quorum. But only by one vote (38 senators). “If you get sick, what do you do?” explained a senator from the FdT. That is why the accompaniment of JvC was key.

But in the last few hours, the FdT came across a statement from JxC that criticized CFK, accusing her of having used her role as president of the Senate “to install her personal agenda, which is to co-opt the Justice” and ratified its decision not to provide a quorum while the political trial of the Court lasted. What had happened? The day before, the FdT itself had published a statement in which it denounced that he had been “working almost alone” for the last three years. The message from the pro-government bench was a response to a journalistic note that claimed that CFK had paralyzed the Senate. “They attack Cristina because she is the person in politics who has the highest popular consideration, she is the one who measures the most,” Mayans questioned on Radio Con Vos. He was not the only one: several senators quickly came out to hit JxC and the media throughout this Friday. “Santa Fe is in a state of emergency because the opposition does not want to vote for anything,” she pointed out, in turn, Juliana DiTullieither.

The tension was escalating and JxC released the statement. “Now I don’t know what is going to happen,” an official senator was honest. In principle, next Wednesday the block presidents will hold a Parliamentary Labor meeting to discuss what issues could be discussed. The hope is that the security crisis in Santa Fe will be enough of an incentive to defuse tensions and agree to a session by the end of the month.

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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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