Argentine president launches bid to remove Supreme Court judges

Argentine President Alberto Fernandez has launched a parliamentary procedure against the Supreme Court in the latest stage in the executive's power battle with the judiciary.

Center-left leader Fernandez submitted late on Wednesday a request to the lower house of congress to open a "political process" against the court that he accuses of a "poor performance of its duties."

The move is largely symbolic as it has almost no chance of success.

Lawmakers must now decide whether or not to approve an inquiry into the court's four judges.

But with a two thirds majority of the two houses of Congress needed just to formally "charge" the judges, they will almost certainly avoid being removed.

Fernandez's Frente de Todos (Everyone's Front) coalition does not even enjoy a simple majority in either house.

Fernandez's move comes in response to a Supreme Court judgement last month hotly contested by the executive.

In December, the court increased the amount of federal tax revenue to be allocated to the local Buenos Aires government.

The president accused the court of "arbitrarily invading the spheres of exclusive powers" of the state.

He said the court had carried out a "political judgement linked to an election year."

Argentines will head to the polls in October where Fernandez faces a tough job to hold onto the presidency.

The center-right mayor of Buenos Aires, Horacio Larreta is expected to challenge Fernandez.

Larreta, in response, accused Fernandez of wanting to "break the constitutional order" and of wanting to "overrule the laws and change the arbitrator, which in a republic like ours is the judiciary."

The opposition coalition, of which Larreta is a part, has already rejected the political move.

Ever since his mandate began in 2019, Fernandez has tried unsuccessfully to reform the judiciary.

In a 2022 poll, 78 percent of Argentines said they had either a negative or very negative opinion about the country's legal system.