Cristina Fernández de Kirchner made her return to the Senate floor with all guns blazing, arguing with Vice President Gabriela Michetti, defending her stand, and promising to be a constant political thorn in the side of Cambiemos.
Having skipped committee meetings since being sworn-in, today’s session in the Senate was loaded with anticipation about what the former president and now senator for the Buenos Aires province could say on the floor in regard to the 2018 Budget.
Before the session could tackle the budget, Fernández de Kirchner immediately asked to speak, launching a 25 minute address littered with political attacks and defenses. Fernández de Kirchner was senator from 1995 to 1997 and from 2001 to 2007.
“It’s noteworthy how the ruling coalition says what kind of opposition it wants. I’m going to debate everything because that’s why I was voted in. It’s possible that you or the president won’t like our kind of opposition. Well, I don’t like your government, but you were voted in and you must govern” said Fernández de Kirchner to Michetti, who is president of the Senate and is in charge of proceedings. On the occasions that Michetti asked Fernández de Kirchner to wrap up, the senator shot back asking for time given the clamour for her attendance at committee meetings.
Fernández de Kirchner also addressed Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio and his decision to indict her and ask for her arrest regarding the alleged whitewash of suspected Iranian involvement in the AMIA bombing. As such, she said that the ruling was “ridiculous” and that it was “an attack on political representation, fundamentally against the opposition.” She then compared that ruling with lawfare, a concept used to describe “the use of the judicial apparatus, in cooperation with the media, to promote the convictions before trial against the opposition.” As evidence, she defended once again the Memorandum of Understanding signed with Iran and compared it to an agreement signed with Qatar by the Macri administration. Macri, Michetti and former Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra were charged in relation to the agreement but later those charges were dropped by a judge.
— Cristina Kirchner (@CFKArgentina) 27 de diciembre de 2017
Fernández de Kirchner also rejected what she called an erroneous interpretation about whether a committee had to handle the request from Bonadio for her immunity from arrest to be lifted, noting that the Senate as a whole could vote to have that immunity removed if it wanted. “So the argument that Peronism, or Kirchnerism, or Cristina want to stop the lifting of immunity doesn’t fly,” stated the senator.
The former president is set to make closing arguments about the 2018 Budget, promising more fireworks.