Over the last few days, where the presidential change of command should take place on December 10 has become the reason for yet another political disagreement between the outgoing and incoming administrations. Surprised? Yeah, me neither.
How on earth are they fighting about this, you wonder? Both parties agree that the swearing-in ceremony should take place in Congress, as dictated by the Constitution. The disagreement is over where the change of command — a ceremony in which the outgoing President hands over the Presidential staff and sash to the incoming head of state — should take place.
On the one hand, President-elect Mauricio Macri says he wants the change of command to take place in the Casa Rosada’s “White Room,” since that is “protocol and tradition,” according to his administration. However, the current administration insists on conducting the entire ceremony in Congress and has turned to the Constitution to defend its stance.
“The Constitution states in Article 93 that the President and Vice-President will be sworn in by the President of the Senate before Congress, because that is how it is done before the people,” said Cabinet Chief Aníbal Fernández.
“You can’t just do what you want, you have to do what the Constitution says. With all due respect, [the ceremony] can’t be conducted in Barrio Parque,” Fernández added, managing to squeeze a little burn by implying Macri would like to take office in one of Argentina’s most cheto neighborhoods.
The incoming administration claims Article 93 only stipulates where the swearing-in must be taken, not the change of command, and that the latter traditionally takes place in the Casa Rosada.
Monzó was making reference to the fact that former President Eduardo Duhalde decided bend tradition in 2003 by handing the presidential sash and staff to Néstor Kirchner in Congress.
There have only been four times in history when the change of command has taken place before the legislative assembly and not at the Casa Rosada: for Presidents José María Guido in 1962, Néstor in 2003 and Cristina Kirchner in 2007 and 2011.
Tradition aside, another reason why this discussion is taking place has a lot to do with the fact that Kirchnerite youth organization La Cámpora has called for a march on Congress to wish Cristina farewell on December 10th.
The activist organization is known for conducting spirited rallies in support of their leaders, so Macri may be reluctant to take office in a place filled with people who haven’t been exactly supportive of his policies.
December 10 is coming closer and it doesn’t look like they’re going to see eye to eye on this any time soon. As usual, we’ll just have to grab the popcorn and see what happens.