The fate of Julio de Vido hangs by a thread in the Chamber of Deputies. Massa’s alliance is set to join Cambiemos today to sign the opinion of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, which could set De Vido’s impeachment in motion. But not if the Justicialista bloc can help it.
The committee convened at 11am to consider four initiatives regarding Deputy De Vido, who was charged with diverting and embezzling 265 million pesos from the country’s carbon resource operations as Planning Minister under ex-President Cristina Kirchner.
First on today’s agenda is the impeachment proposal from Cambiemos Deputy Elisa Carrió, who is not on the committee. She asks to expel De Vido for “moral inability” to govern, citing more than 100 open cases and five prosecutions on De Vido’s record. She is present today to defend her initiative.
The massista bloc favors expulsion as long as the committee guarantees De Vido his right of defense, given that he complied with his subpoena. “If Cambiemos decides to advance toward impeachment,” massista Deputy Juan Brugge said in a conversation with La Nación early this morning, “we will support it.”
Kirchneristas, on the other hand, have boycotted the meeting to resist what they see as an attack on an emblem of twelve years of governance. “On principle, we will not give a quorum,” said Diana Conti (FPV-Buenos Aires), vice president of Constitutional Affairs, to La Nación. “If the ruling bloc succeeds and proceeds to sign, we will reject De Vido’s expulsion.”
The FpV will also toy with the terms of De Vido’s charges. For instance, they plan to petition the General Audit Office (AGN) for a certificate of good behavior, since the agency never once objected to De Vido’s management during his terms as Federal Planning Minister.
Though most members of the ruling bloc support the impeachment proposal, Cambiemos Deputies Ricardo Alfonsín and Carla Carrizo have dissented on what they see as a “drastic measure.” More moderate initiatives include the suspension, rather than expulsion, of De Vido.
Macrista Deputy Pablo Tonelli, president of the committee, warns that suspension may do unexpected damage. “If we impeach him, another deputy on the ‘substitute list’ will enter the chamber,” he said to Radio Mitre. “On the other hand, if we suspend him, no one will substitute, and the Frente para la Victoria loses a member.”
De Vido is summoned in the chamber as of 11 am. The meeting remains underway, and its results up in the air.