The federal prosecutor, Jorge Di Lello, is seeking court approval to indict the vice-president, Amado Boudou, as part of an ongoing investigation into his dealings with Ciccone Calcográfica, a financially troubled printing company.
The official investigation is seeking to determine whether Mr Boudou used his political influence as economy minister in 2009 to benefit Ciccone. On Friday February 7th Mr Boudou unexpectedly appeared before the judge heading the investigation, Ariel Lijo, to assure him of his availability as soon as requested and to assert that he will not use vice-presidential privilege to avoid questioning. In the meantime, Mr Boudou released two written statements reaffirming his innocence and insisting that the investigation was part of a political and media campaign against him.
The investigation into Mr Boudou began just months after he was inaugurated as vice-president, leaving him with little influence in government. For most of the duration of the official investigation, there has been almost complete silence on the case from Mr Boudou’s colleagues in government. The recent illness of the president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, has highlighted the awkward position that Mr Boudou’s almost complete absence from government and clear lack of policymaking influence presents. Under the constitution, power should pass to the vice-president, but this is not seen as a desirable alternative under current circumstances.
Reflecting their desire to play down any suggestions of divisions in the cabinet or potential governability problems as the economic situation deteriorates, the government has finally been more vocal in its support for Mr Boudou in the past week. The cabinet chief, Jorge Capitanich, recently stated that Mr Boudou was the victim of a “media lynching”. Nonetheless, the vice-president’s problems will clearly add to the government’s fragility.
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