Court of Bolivia Admits Demand…

The Administrative Court of Bolivia admitted a simple nullity claim filed by the exconcejal German Zapata and his legal attorney, Edgar Pina Montero, against the resolution 052 of March 26, 2018 of the Council of Cartagena. The magistrate of the lawsuit is Luis Miguel Villalobos Alvarez.

This resolution was issued by the current president of the Council, Wilson Toncel, who declared the temporary vacancy of the seats of several councilors investigated for the crimes of bribery and malfeasance, and declared the empty chair in the corporation in said seats.

The lawsuit seeks to show that the empty chair is not appropriate and the seats must be occupied by those who follow the order in the lists of the parties that aspired to the Cartagena Council in the elections of October 2015. But until now no one can occupy those curules.

The councilors are currently in session for the Radical Change Party, Wilson Toncel (president) and Dagoberto Macias; for the Conservative Party, Oscar Marin, Rodrigo Reyes, Rafael Meza and David Caballero; for the Party of the U, Cesar Pion; for the Cartagena Confirmas movement, Judith Diaz; for the Citizen Option Party, Lewis Montero; and for the Liberal Party, Javier Curi.

Meanwhile the councilors Erich Pina, of the Liberal Party; Americo Mendoza, from ASI; Luis Cassiani, and Antonio Salim Guerra, of Cambio Radical; Edgar Mendoza Salame, conservative; William Pérez and Duvinia Torres Cohen, from La U; and Angelica Hodeg, of Alianza Verde, face an assurance measure at home by jail for the investigation that is followed, for alleged bribery and malfeasance, in the election of Nubia Fontalvo as district controller in January 2016.

The former mayor Manolo Duque, his cousin José Julián Vasquez and exconcejal Jorge Useche were linked to this resounding case. One more seat that was left empty was left by the exconcejal David Dáger, who resigned the position.

The demand
But for the exconcejal German Zapata, director of the ASI Party, and his lawyer Pina, “those empty seats must be occupied.”

The lawyer explained to El Universal the claims of the lawsuit. “It is a simple demand of general interest, protecting the right to effective representation of society Cartagena,” said the legal.

According to the plaintiff, the nullity of the resolution 052 of March, which declares the empty chair in the seats, is sought.

“The approach is that with this resolution the Council is applying Legislative Act 02 of 2015, but it must be taken into account that this act did not have constitutional control, since the Court declared it unconstitutional; regardless of whether the President of the Republic has sanctioned it is a special law, which goes against article 2 of the Constitution, which speaks of political rights, such as choosing, being elected and being represented, which is within the rights universal, “explained Pina Montero.

“And the most important thing is the right to be represented, but the congressmen who made this law (Act 02 of 2015), forgot to study what they say and order articles 2, 3, 4 and 40 of the Political Constitution, which they are fundamental rights that are above any reform. ”

For this lawyer, “the empty chair can not be given in any corporation, be it Assembly, Council or JAL, because the elector is the owner of the effective representation, that is, the primary constituent who voted.”

To the question of why the empty chair was given in Congress during the period of parapolitics, the plaintiff said that when Legislative Act 02 of 2015 was given, the judicial branch was the first to demand its unconstitutionality, then the empty chair in Colombia it can not be applied, according to this claimant, in any case.

Germán Zapata, who was a councilor, aspired for the ASI Party, and he himself would enter to occupy the seat that Americo Mendoza would leave, investigated by the Fontalvo case.

The admitted demand demands the control of constitutionality by the exceptional way, this means that if an article is incongruent with the Constitution the administrative act (resolution) that granted the empty chair must be annulled.

The Court transferred the petition, for 30 days, to the Attorney General and the Council of Cartagena, but also the plaintiff requested a special precautionary measure “to suspend the force of law of resolution 052”. The foregoing means that if this mechanism were to thrive, the times would be shortened, since the Council and the Attorney General would have five days to answer the demand. And if the Court grants this measure, the replacements in the Council that would enter to occupy the empty seats would be sooner than expected.

Given this scenario is expected a pronouncement of the board of the Council chaired by Councilman Wilson Toncel, which has not occurred.

Guardianships did not prosper

The empty seats in the Council for the investigation of the ‘Fontalvo case’ that follows several councilors detained at home by jail, have been claimed for several months by plaintiffs interested in other candidates occupying the position of councilor, but the same Court has failed against that claim.

El Universal learned that the Tribunal’s arguments are supported by rulings and judgments of the Council of State and the high courts. However, the current demand is unprecedented in the face of the demands presented.