Argentina: Vice President Kirchner sentenced to prison and ineligibility

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Argentina: Vice President Kirchner sentenced to prison and ineligibility

Cristina Kirchner was convicted in a trial for fraud and corruption during her presidential terms from 2007 to 2015.

Vice – Argentinian President Cristina Kirchner was sentenced on Tuesday to six years in prison, although her parliamentary immunity preserves her, and to life ineligibility, in a trial for fraud and corruption during her presidential mandates, a verdict that x27; she blamed it on a “judicial mafia”.

The 69-year-old was found guilty of fraudulent administration to the detriment of the state in a trial involving public contract awards in her political stronghold of Santa Cruz , in the south of the country, during her two terms as president (2007-2015).

Twelve years in prison as well as ineligibility had been requested in August against her.

The former head of state (center left) who, seven years after her departure from the presidency, remains an essential, as much as divisive, figure in Argentine politics, has always denied any wrongdoing. Her lawyers had pleaded for total acquittal.

And she has denounced, since the start of the procedure in 2019, a political trial, led by judges, according to her, instrumentalized by the government. right-wing opposition, in particular the Macrist camp, in reference to his successor to the presidency (2015-2019), the liberal Mauricio Macri.

Her position as President of the Senate, synonymous with parliamentary immunity, will save her from prison. An immunity that would continue if she regains a mandate in the general elections of October 2023.

In addition, a sentence, whether that of prison or ineligibility, could only be effective after several appeals, including possibly before the Supreme Court, which could take several years.

In August, the 12-year-old indictment sparked widespread demonstrations of support for him in several cities in Argentina, and several evenings under the windows of his home in Buenos Aires, which led to clashes with the font.

However, the imminence of the verdict only generated a relatively modest mobilization on Tuesday. No strong directive had emanated from the vice-presidential entourage in recent days, according to close sources.

A few hundred supporters – trade unionists, members of Peronist organizations – were peacefully gathered in the afternoon outside the courthouse and desperately seeking shade in the scorching heat, AFP found. /p>

Among them, Marcelo Graziano, a 50-year-old trader, explained that he came to defend Cristina, saying he was grateful for what she gave to the people and what she can still give.

< p class="e-p">The hypothesis of major mobilizations had raised fears of excesses, as in August after the statement of requisitions. These tensions indirectly created the context for the attack on Ms. Kirchner on September 1. The shooter – whose shot did not fire – slipped through a messy melee of supporters.

Three suspects, young people who are a little politically lost and hostile to Kirchner, but without a large proven plot to date, are in detention.

Eight of Ms. Kirchner's twelve co-defendants at trial, among which a building contractor and former managers of the Vialidad road works organization, were sentenced to terms of three and a half to six years in prison. Three others were released and one received a prescription.

Supporters of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner listen to her speech after the verdict, in front of the Comodoro Py courthouse, in Buenos Aires.

The sentence was written. The idea was to convict me, reacted Cristina Kirchner on her social media accounts from her Senate office, shortly after the verdict. She denounced a parallel state, a judicial mafia.

“I won't be a candidate for anything. Neither senator, nor vice-president, nor president. »

— Cristina Kirchner, Argentine Vice-President and former Head of State

If Ms. Kirchner did indeed run for any term in the general elections of #x27;October 2023, she would de facto lose her parliamentary immunity, but appeals that should take several years would spare her de facto prison.

Monday, she compared her fate to that of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, re-elected president of Brazil, imprisoned in 2018-2019 for corruption, convictions ultimately overturned for formal defects.

A supporter of Argentina's Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner outside the courthouse in Buenos Aires on December 6, 2022.

A parallel up&# x27; on the way back? Technically it is possible. A sentence would only be effective after a long appeal. And as Senator and Speaker of the Upper House, Ms. Kirchner enjoys immunity that could extend beyond 2023, should she regain a term in the October general election.

But his political future on a national scale is far from being written. Her camp is aware of the rejection she receives, beyond a hard core of 20 to 25% of supporters.

And she has distilled signals according to which she no longer really projected herself as an agent, but rather as a super-influencer. Politics is not just about holding a position […], being president, vice-president, senator or deputy. It's the power to get ideas across, she said on Monday.

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