The December 10 change of command, which will see Mauricio Macri receive a presidential staff and sash to mark his assumption of power while Cristina bids her presidency goodbye, is quickly turning into that episode of My Super Sweet 16 in which the contestant’s spiteful older sister stashes away her sibling’s birthday tiara because why should she get all the attention, compelling our birthday brat to strike back by shredding her sister’s party dress in the middle of the night.
Except in this case, we’re talking about the incoming and outgoing Presidents of Argentina.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, grab your tiara and tune in to the following recap:
On December 10, Macri will be officially sworn-in as President before Congress, a procedure set forth by the Constitution. That’s step one of the day’s proceedings. Up till here, we’re all clear.
Controversy has arisen over where the second portion of the day’s events — the change of command and corresponding staff and sash handover — should take place.
(I realize “presidential staff and sash hand off” sounds like a vogue step straight out of RuPaul’s Drag Race, but it is an actual ceremony central to the Argentine power transition. Each new President receives a new staff, or baton, specially designed for him or her, as well as a presidential sash bearing the colors of the Argentine flag.)
Macri has insisted from the very beginning of the whole debacle that the ceremony should be carried out in the Casa Rosada’s White Room, where every President before Cristina and Néstor Kirchner received the presidential objects.
However, outgoing President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s administration yesterday confirmed that they have begun preparing a hand-off ceremony in Congress, which they insist is the rightful location for this procedure according to Article 93 of the Constitution.
El Traspaso del Mando Presidencial tendrá lugar el próximo 10 de diciembre a las 12:00 en el Congreso Nacional. pic.twitter.com/bNVjGur9mQ
— Casa Rosada (@CasaRosadaAR) December 4, 2015
Macri and co. claim that Article 93 only applies to the swearing-in ceremony and not the staff and sash hand off, and they’re not backing down. A member of the team told Clarin that Cambiemos will be distributing its own invitations to a change of command ceremony in the Casa Rosada.
“Starting at midnight on December 10, Macri will be President, so we will be distributing invitations for a ceremony in the Casa Rosada,” the source said.
So essentially, two giant, separate parties with two giant, separate guest lists are being prepared to mark the same occasion. What we’re witnessing here are major hissy fits over what are essentially beauty pageant paraphernalia.
But there are casualties to these state-level shenanigans.
Goldsmith Juan Carlos Pallarols, who has designed every presidential baton since 1983, is caught in the crossfire. His workshop apparently received a hostile call from Presidential Ceremonies personnel threatening to seize the baton if they didn’t surrender it to the government. Although there is no law mandating it, tradition dictates that Pallarols is the guardian of the presidential staff until December 10.
“I just want them to reach an agreement. I’m an artisan, a metalworker, not a mediator. That’s not my job,” Pallarols said.
Poor guy. That’s like having henchmen threaten Geppetto regarding Pinocchio’s whereabouts. Just leave the artisans alone.
Tune in next week for the final installment of the staff and sash hand-off clash.