December 18, 2014
Zamora easily wins vote in the Senate
Former Radical (UCR) governor is now second in the line of presidential succession
Former Santiago del Estero governor Gerardo Zamora of the Civic Front was sworn-in as the new provisional president of the Senate yesterday, confirming that President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner had called for a traditional Radical Party (UCR) Kirchnerite to be placed second in the list of presidential succesion, seemingly unconcerned about the headaches she has endured from high-profile Kirchnerite members of the UCR.
Though it was reported that several senators from the ruling Victory Front (FpV) were disappointed by the President’s decision to replace Beatriz Rojkés de Alperovich — the wife of the governor of Tucumán province — Zamora yesterday managed to pass the vote with flying colours, 57 to 12.
Zamora obtained a vote that nobody would have dreamed of last year. After more than 12 months of absence, former president Carlos Menem yesterday attended the Senate session and, aligned with the Kirchnerite caucus, threw his support behind the former governor.
Zamora now occupies the slot after Vice-President Amado Boudou in the list of presidential succession. Boudou is currently facing several accusations against him in the case relating to Ciccone Calcográfica minting company — which prints the peso bills — for allegedly having taken part in negotiations that are not compatible with public office.
Zamora, a former Radical Party member aligned with Kirchnerism, is now considered to be an ultra-Kirchnerite although he is still a member of the Civic Front and not the ruling FpV. His former party colleagies accuse him of being a traitor and all the UCR senators voted against his appointment yesterday.
It is hardly the first time Fernández de Kirchner has chosen a Radical to a key position. When she was elected to her first term, it was alongside then-Radical Kirchnerite Julio Cobos, who later went on to deliver one of the biggest defeats of her presidency when he voted against resolution 125 in 2008 that sought to impose a system of variable export taxes for soybeans and other crops.
It seems Fernández the Kirchner is less worried about any type of betrayal now despite the fact that the Civic Front from Santiago del Estero has not always been a loyal supporter. In fact, Zamora’s first deputy governor Emilio Rached voted against the 125 resolution in 2008, a move that then forced Cobos to break the tie as Senate President.
A popular governor
Fernández de Kirchner heartily congratulated Zamora after the PASO primaries held in August last year because he obtained more than 70 percent of the votes. But in October, the Supreme Court quashed his candidacy.
The members of the highest tribunal said Zamora could not run for a third term because it was not allowed in the provincial Constitution, which add to the long chain of clashes between the Kirchnerite administration and the country’s top court. Zamora sponsored his wife’s candidacy and Claudia Ledesma Abdala managed to obtain 64 percent of the votes.
Zamora decided to take his seat in the Upper House of Congress and yesterday the president rewarded him for his loyalty. In fact, it can also be seen as a profitable agreement for both parties.
Zamora leads the Civic Front in Santiago del Estero, which has two senators and seven lawmakers in the Lower House. In the Senate, Zamora will have a leading role alongside Aida Itúrrez, who also has an important role in the Magistrates Council, the body in charge of the selection of the judges that the Kirchnerite administration seems determined to rescue from its paralysis.
Last week, members of the Magistrates Council elected the body’s leaders and Itúrrez was appointed as the head of the key Disciplinary Committee, which is in charge of deciding sanctions against judges or even their removal.
Zamora will also provide the FpV seven lawmakers at the Lower House, that will join the 119 Kirchnerite legislators and their other allies. For Kirchnerites, Zamora will also be essential to ensure governability.
It was reported that the president had a meeting with Rojkés de Alperovich to let her know about her decision. The head of state allegedly said that she wanted somebody less controversial to lead the Senate.
Some other sources believe that the president fears José Alperovich’s flirtation with Sergio Massa, the leader of the Renewal Front.
Radical party Senator Juan Carlos Marino held on to his position as vice-president of the Senate alongside Broad Progressive Front (FAP) Senator Luis Juez. Former Salta governor Juan Carlos Romero, aligned with Massa, kept his position as the second vice-president as well.
Herald with DyN,Télam