The transfer of command in Argentina: from the judicial battle to a conciliatory dinner

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In 2015, Cristina Fernandez's term ended abruptly due to a judicial decision that placed a provisional president for 12 hours. It was the outcome of a clash with Mauricio Macri that remained in history. Now, Alberto Fernandez seeks to change the footprint with a proposal that would include a dinner on the eve of December 10.

The ghost of the controversy that unleashed around the transfer of command between Cristina Fernandez and Mauricio Macri once again settled on the Casa Rosada, headquarters of the Argentine Executive, a few days after the inauguration of President-elect Alberto Fernandez.
Although the transition between Macri and the candidate of the Frente de Todos took place in good terms, the commands of both leaders rush to ensure that the delivery of the presidential gang is not again controversial as in 2015, when it was required a court order and a "provisional president" for 12 hours to finalize the process.
It had all started with the disagreement between Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (CFK) and Macri, who had won the 2015 elections leading the Cambiemos coalition. In the tense meeting that the two had had to coordinate the ceremony, Macri had requested that Fernandez deliver the band and the presidential staff at Casa Rosada at noon, after having sworn before Congress.

For Fernandez, however, the itinerary had to be different: the delivery of presidential attributes should take place directly in Congress, an instance in which Macri would formally become president of the Nation.

The background, far from clarifying, gave the reason to the two: the ceremony that Macri wanted had occurred in the transfers between Raul Alfonsin and Carlos Menem in 1989 and between Menem and Fernando de la Rua in 1999. The one that Fernandez wanted was He had hit between Eduardo Duhalde and Nestor Kirchner in 2003 and between Kirchner and Fernandez herself in 2007.

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                    AFP 2019 / Ali Burafi

Incoming President Nestor Kirchner receives the presidential staff of outgoing Eduardo Duhalde on May 25, 2003

In the book Sincerely, written by CFK and edited in 2019, the current elected vice president said that the only meeting with Macri culminated in the agreement to carry out the transfer in Congress. However, a telephone call from Macri the next day changed everything: the president-elect accused his predecessor of wanting to "ruin his assumption."
The conflict between the two was resolved in the hours before December 10, the day of the change of command. Federal judge Maria Servini de Cubria ruled in favor of a complaint by Macri and established that Fernandez's mandate culminated on December 9, so she would no longer be president at the zero hour of December 10.
In the same ruling, the magistrate ordered something else unprecedented in Argentine history: that "from the beginning of the presidential term (at midnight on December 10, 2015) and until both Mauricio Macri and Marta Gabriela Michetti juren as president and vice president of the Nation respectively, who will be in charge of the Presidency of the Nation will be the provisional president of the Senate. "

That position then fell to the senator of Cambiemos Federico Pinedo, who finally took possession of the Presidency at the zero hour of December 10 and exercised his mandate for twelve hours, until the moment when Macri swore before the National Congress.

Cristina Fernandez joked with the curious end of her mandate at the farewell ceremony she performed at the Plaza de Mayo: "At 12 I become a pumpkin," he said, referring to the float of Cinderella, the classic tale of the Grimm brothers.

Can it happen again?

Despite having competed in the elections, the breadth with which he won and the more dialogic style of Alberto Fernandez favored a more orderly transition than the previous one. Even Macri and Alberto Fernandez were photographed together, something unthinkable in the succession of 2015.

On November 27, the day the new senators took office, the Peronist senator Claudia Ledesma Abdala also swore as the new provisional president of the Upper House, succeeding Pinedo as number three in the line of presidential succession.

It did not take speculation as to whether Ledesma would have the same responsibility as Pinedo, in a scenario where Justice reordered a transfer mediated by a provisional president.
However, outgoing government sources told the Argentine newspaper Pagina 12 that there were conversations between the Macri and Fernandez teams to ensure that the same thing does not happen again in 2015. According to the newspaper, Alberto Fernandez asked Macri to make the transfer in Congress, as Cristina Fernandez wanted in 2015 and it was the tradition of Peronist governments since 2003.
The sources cited by the newspaper indicated that Macri, to avoid a new conflict and with the conviction that he should not leave the Presidency a day before, agreed to hand over the band and the presidential staff in Congress. Fernandez's team would have secured a "respectful and whistle-free" ceremony towards the outgoing president.

As an approach, Fernandez plans to share a dinner with Macri on the night of December 9.



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