The Argentine Business Association and a group of 500 business leaders have issued statements asking Congress to halt a bill put forward by President Alberto Fernández to impeach the Supreme Court.
Both statements were released on January 19, a week before the impeachment bill is scheduled for debate in Congress on January 26. Special congressional sessions will begin on January 23.
The government is unlikely to secure enough votes for the impeachment bid to succeed.
“We ask Congressmembers to stop the attempt to impeach the Justices,” said an open letter signed by 500 business leaders, highlighting the importance of the division of powers and compliance with the Constitution. Endorsements include representatives from J.P. Morgan, Amcham, Acindar, Fiat, Niqlea, Globant and Siemens.
In the letter, the signatories express concern over how this dispute could affect foreign investments in Argentina. “Who would want to invest in a country that’s constantly changing its rules and undermining the justice’s rulings?” it said.
A similar argument was expressed in the release by the Argentine Business Association, the country’s most powerful corporate chamber, emphasizing the “independence of the judiciary” and its representatives. “The impeachment affects the constitutional consensus, and our prospects of growth, investments, and employment creation,” it said.
With the government seeking to improve economic conditions ahead of October’s presidential elections, the statements add to tensions between Alberto Fernández’s administration and private business representatives in the country.
In a January 1 New Year’s letter marking the beginning of an electoral year, Fernández wrote there had been “unacceptable interventions of the judicial power over other powers in Argentina, demonstrating the outrageous ties between a part of the political class and the judiciary.”
His request to impeach the Supreme Court came after the justices ordered the national government to reinstate a larger share of federal tax revenues to the opposition-controlled Buenos Aires city government. Fernández had diverted the funds to Buenos Aires Province in order to increase police salaries following officer protests in 2020. The impeachment process will follow the guidelines set by the Impeachment Act. However, it is highly unlikely to secure the two-thirds majority needed to proceed to the senate. Opposition coalition Juntos por el Cambio said last week that its members would not attend congressional sessions until the government withdrew the impeachment bill. If the boycott goes ahead, ruling coalition Frente de Todos could struggle to summon the required congressional quorum of 129 deputies.