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Tue Mar 16, 2021, 04:40 PM

Argentina: Martin Soria named new Justice Minister, replacing Marcela Losardo

Argentine President Alberto Fernández has tapped Congressman Martín Soria to be Argentina’s next Justice Minister, replacing the departing Marcela Losardo.

Fernández made the announcement in an interview a week after confirming rumors that Losardo, 62, his close ally and personal friend, would be stepping down after mounting criticism from the ruling, center-left Front for All coalition that the Justice Ministry was slow-walking investigations into alleged lawfare: the weaponization of the judiciary by former President Mauricio Macri's right-wing tenure (2015-19).

A lawyer and freshman congressman from Patagonia's Río Negro Province, Soria, 45, was one of the names that first circulated after news of Losardo's imminent departure broke.

The new justice minister is no stranger to tragedy: his mother, Susana Freydoz, is currently in prison for the murder of his father Carlos Soria, after a domestic dispute in 2012 - shortly after the elder Soria, then 62, took office as governor of Río Negro Province.

His relatively low profile was raised after co-filing a complaint on February 11 against Federal Judge Gustavo Hornos on evidence that Hornos had visited Macri at the presidential residence on at least six occasions between 2015 and 2018 - each coming days before politically-charged rulings against Macri's opponents.

Judicial table

Hornos' presidential visits are alleged to be part of a wider pattern of judicial interference under Macri - who in 2019 lost his re-election bid amid an economic crash known locally as the "Macrisis."

Numerous top Macri officials who made up his "judicial table" have been indicted since then, including his Intelligence Agency (AFI) Gustavo Arribas and Federal Prosecutor Carlos Stornelli - both longtime Macri associates from his days as head of Buenos Aires' famed Boca Juniors football club.

They were among dozens - mainly AFI agents - indicted in the related d'Alessio and Super Mario Bros. cases - involving, respectively, an extortion ring that netted false testimony against Macri opponents as well as $12 million in ransom payments, and mass warrantless surveillance of public figures.

At: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/argentina/martin-soria-named-new-justice-minister-replacing-marcela-losardo.phtml

Argentina's incoming Justice Minister, Congressman Martín Soria, and President Alberto Fernández.

Soria's appointment comes after mounting criticism against his predecessor, Marcela Losardo, for slow-walking investigations into alleged weaponization of the judiciary by former President (and Trump friend) Mauricio Macri during his right-wing, 2015-19 tenure.

Soria's agenda will likewise include judicial reform proposals whose centerpiece is a transition to a U.S.-style adversarial legal system from the prevailing inquisitorial system - a holdover from the Spanish colonial era and which critics partly blame for the country's notoriously cumbersome (and often corrupt) judiciary.

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