May 21, 2022 11:10 pm

A serious and notorious setback

In 2016 we had the honor of publishing on these pages an article in which we highlighted, as something worthy of being imitated throughout the country, Buenos Aires law that had imposed a limit on indefinite re-elections of mayors of the province of Buenos Aires.

Today, with some dismay, we see that which was a great step towards deepening the republican system and one of its principles (“Periodicity of functions”) has been nothing more than an isolated, ephemeral and fragile action, since this initiative has just fallen – as is public knowledge – under the always arbitrary cloak of collusion, personalism and mere and petty political expediency.

In this sense, The current reform of the Buenos Aires provincial law 14,836 allows the elected mayors in 2015 the possibility of being reelected –as well as legislators, councilors and school counselors– for the term that will begin in 2023. As of that year, and after the corresponding elections, the regulation will enjoy its own operation. This, as long as that instance arrives, it is not modified again or declared unconstitutional.

That change, then, took effect on a sectarian purpose that, far from being based on a reasonable criterion, has its origin in the self-interest of those who obviously seek to be reelected for another term.

In such a way, the precursors of the normative modification tried to justify their decision under the position that, as discussed in both houses of the Buenos Aires Legislature, it was necessary to provide certainty as to which was the mandate that should be considered first.

Argument that undoubtedly translates into the desire to compete and remain, in case of winning, for four more years in office concerned. Thus, and in fact, those who have been elected in the 2017 and 2019 elections will see the first period to be accounted for, respectively, and not, as it should reasonably be interpreted, the one started previously.

We believe that what happened, regardless of the trick or the legal window used in terms of normative interpretation to cause the modification, is within the “Institutional experiments” who try to force –or even make disappear– the republican principles, with the sole objective of “giving four more years to those who have already been in office for eight years”, as the Supreme Court pointed out in 2013 when suspending, precautionary through, the elections In which the former governor of Santiago del Estero Gerardo Zamora wanted to participate in order to be reelected – despite the express constitutional prohibition that existed.

With a legalistic criterion the Constitutional State of Law is violated.

In his farewell speech of 1796, George Washington, who was asked to assume for a term Furthermore, he declared that he did not accept a third consecutive term of president of the United States and made that decision to make clear the criteria for which he had fought all his life, that is, the defense against personalism and monarchical authority. This custom lasted until Roosevelt accepted a third term and the XXII amendment had to be added to the United States Constitution, as early as 1951, which expressly limits presidential terms to two terms.

There are plausible arguments and experiences to go beyond a merely formal conception of democracy. Practices and interpretations such as those recently established constitute substantive vices and defects of the formal political process that must be eliminated, because they only defend the interests of the political caste, to the detriment of the republic.

The comparisons are hateful. However, keep in mind the successes that the great politicians and statesmen shown in its course throughout history allows us to advance by the only possible path: that of respect for the Constitution. No one is essential (the cemetery is full of them), and even if someone childishly believed that they were, nothing better to preserve the democratic system than the alternation, the periodicity of the functions and the search and training of new and better leaders.

Lawyers and university professors

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