Argentine Transition
Peronism is Back at the Casa Rosada: Alberto Fernández and Cristina Kirchner Are Sworn In
The new president and vice president of Argentina said they will prioritize justice reform and cleaning up the intelligence services: "Never again to a Justice contaminated by intelligence services, judicial operators, obscure procedures and media lynchings".

The new President of Argentina Alberto Fernandez and Vice President Cristina Kirchner made it clear that the priority at the beginning of their term will be on Judiciary reform and cleaning up the intelligence services.

In his inaugural speech, Fernández announced that he will intervene the Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) and reallocate its funds to the plan against hunger, which will be under the Ministry of Development. He also indicated that over the next few days he will send to Congress a package of laws aimed at reforming the federal justice system, as LPO reported.

Macri and Kirchner, meanwhile, had a tense moment during the ceremony in Congress when the former president and now current vice-president decided to completely ignore the outgoing president, who replaced her in 2015.

[Peronism Returns at the Casa Rosada in One of the Most Civilized Presidential Transitions in Argentina's Recent History]

During the act, Macri extended his hand to greet Cristina. Uncomfortable, she returned the greeting, but looked away, frowning.

The cold greeting between Macri and Cristina contrasts with the one between the outgoing president and the president-elect, who days before had shared a mass in Luján, where they had been friendly. On Tuesday they gave each other a hug. The clash between Macri and Cristina was the most tense moment on an otherwise cordial day.

Perhaps in the most vehement moment of his speech, Alberto questioned a judiciary badly "contaminated" by the intelligence services. He echoed the arguments used by Cristina in her latest speech. The hand of the new vice-president could be seen in that part of the speech.

In recent years Alberto had been highly vocal on his criticism of the legal proceedings brought against Cristina by the Macri administration. He even provided legal advice to Cristóbal López, owner of the Indalo group. For this reason, when momentous economic policy definitions were expected, the only major announcement at the inauguration was centered around judicial issues.

"Never again a judiciary contaminated by intelligence services, judicial operators, obscure proceedings and media lynchings," said the incoming president. The judiciary is well aware that as of December 10, Alberto and Cristina will deploy their expertise to change the rules of the game and deprive the courts of the leading role they had in anti-corruption cases.

As LPO anticipated, Fernández thus confirmed that he will try to transfer the power of investigation to the prosecutors, as stipulated in the Code of Criminal Procedure approved by the Supreme Court in 2014.

A bicameral congressional assembly set up a pilot test in Rosario and Mendoza, in a resolution that also restricted the use of preventive prisoner detention and opened the door to a demand for the release of detained former government officials.

With a Senate under Cristina's control, the bicameral sessions would be aligned with the administration and a resolution endorsed by the president could extend the accusatory model to the rest of the provinces and reduce the role of federal judges to simple case supervisors. Although Cristina -when she was president- endured the rigidity of some prosecutors, many were left on the ropes. Carlos Stornelli, investigated in a case about illegal espionage; Germán Moldes retired and several of his colleagues could follow the same path to avoid difficult times under the new administration.

Fernández made these announcements after taking the oath before the Legislative Assembly, a formal ceremony in which Mauricio Macri handed over highest office of the country to his successor.

During his address, the president took the opportunity to once again call for "the unity of all of Argentina in pursuit of the construction of a new social contract. We have to suture the wounds. To bet on division means wagering on the wounds to continue bleeding," he said.

As for the economic aspects and the debt, he affirmed: "There are no debts that can be sustained if the country does not grow. To be able to pay we have to grow first, we will seek a constructive and cooperative partnership with the IMF and our creditors, solving the problem of an unsustainable debt that Argentina has today is not a matter of winning a dispute with anyone. The country is willing to pay, but it lacks the capacity to do so".

The president also described some of the economic measures that will be implemented in the next few days, among which he spoke of "massive, non-banking credits at low rates," a call for a social pact and a plan to reactivate public works. He further explained that he will convene an Economic and Social Council for development, which will have parliamentary rank and will design state policies.

At the end of the ceremony, he left for the Casa Rosada and in the afternoon he swears in his new cabinet. 

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