March 9, 2014
Senate approves Council of Magistrates controversial bill
With 38 votes for and 30 votes against senators approved the controversial bill over the Council of Magistrates -a key judicial body that appoints and removes judges-, after the Lower House had introduced and passed amendments to the original project.
Given the government’s control of both Houses of Congress, the bill is expected to be signed into law. Victory Front lawmaker Marcelo Fuentes indeed considered “no further surprises” should be expected at today’s session as key issues of the law have already being discussed, and amended, by the Lower House.
Modifications to the draft bill involved the control of resources of the Judiciary branch that will continue to be in power of the Supreme Court although the Council of Magistrates will have autonomy over its own resources. The other amendment has to do with the election of magistrates whose candidacy will be part of political parties’ lists at elections time.
That is probably one of the points of the bill that opposition has questioned and condemned the most considering it a partisan move by the government to control the Judiciary.
Less controversial is the mandatory online publication of judicairy officials’ sworn declarations and of court rulings included also in the Council of Magistrates project, part of a six-bill package submitted by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to Congress aiming, at she has repeatedly stated, at the “democratization" of the Judiciary system.