Argentina's VP Cristina Kirchner faces corruption trial verdict

    WORLD  07 December 2022 - 06:10

    Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Argentina's powerful but divisive vice president, could be handed a 12-year jail sentence and be disqualified from holding public office, with judges expected to rule on Tuesday in a high-profile corruption case.

    The judgment is though likely to be appealed and spend years winding through higher courts even if it goes against the former two-term president, who commands rock-star crowds of supporters, Reuters reported on December 6.

    Fernandez de Kirchner, president between 2007 and 2015, is facing charges by prosecutors of alleged corruption in the awarding of public works during her government. She has denied the allegations and called the court a "firing squad."

    "It is evident that there is going to be a conviction," Fernandez de Kirchner said in an interview with Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo published on Monday. She alleged constitutional guarantees were violated during the process.

    A guilty sentence could trigger angry reactions from Fernandez de Kirchner's supporters in a country enduring a long economic crisis, inflation heading towards 100% and where many talk of a political schism between left and right.

    It could also cast a shadow over the ruling Peronist government of President Alberto Fernandez, which is facing a tough battle to fend off a challenge from the conservative opposition in general elections set for next year.

    Prosecutors allege public works contracts were handed to a businessman ally of Fernandez de Kirchner, who then channeled money back to her and late husband Nestor Kirchner, also a former president.

    Defenders of the vice president say she is a victim of judicial persecution.

    If Fernandez de Kirchner were disqualified from public office, that could have a significant impact, said Julio Burdman, director of the Electoral Observatory consultancy.

    "The relationship between the ruling coalition and opposition would be greatly strained and the ruling party as a whole would react strongly and denounce it as persecution," he said.

    Caliber.Az

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