PSOE and United We Can not loosen the pressure on the PP to renew the Council of the Judiciary, the governing body of judges that has been in office for two years. The two partners of the Executive demanded this Monday to the president of Congress to enable January to urgently process the reform that limits the powers of the Judiciary so that it cannot appoint positions when it has, as is the case now, the expired mandate. We can also threaten to activate the law that allows renewal with an absolute majority and not by three fifths.
Last Thursday the General Council of the Judiciary held one of the most tense plenary sessions in memory of his mandate, which began in 2013 for five years and has now been out of date for two years. The members of the Council were fractured before their assessment of the bill, urgently promoted by the PSOE and United We Can in Congress to limit the powers of that body as soon as possible if the mandate has expired. Members of the Council, of the current conservative majority but not only them, question the constitutionality of that project and demand to be consulted in the face of such reform. PP, Vox and Ciudadanos have criticized the legal initiative for considering it an “interference” in one of the three powers of the State.
PSOE and United We Can, however, understand that the current General Council of the Judiciary no longer represents the progressive majority that supports the Government that left the polls a year ago and that, therefore, that body should refrain from making such important appointments of vacant judicial positions in the Supreme Court, the National Court or in the Superior Courts of Justice of different autonomous communities.
“They leave us no other option”
Both from the leadership of the PSOE and the United We can reject that both parties intend to launch the most far-reaching legal reform in January, which they have resigned for now and remains frozen, on the method of election of the members of the Council, which would make a blockade by the PP irrelevant since it would allow them to be appointed with an absolute majority (176 votes) and not three-fifths (210 seats). The party of Pablo Iglesias does not rule out for now, as a latent political threat, that in the end it is necessary to act in that sense if the popular ones continue to demand that Podemos in no case enter the equation to get out of this impasse.
“It seems to us that the PP leaves no other option but to modify that election system to restore compliance with the Constitution and begin to recover the prestige lost by that body, which continues to make life appointments without the legitimacy that is required for it, because the PP’s approach is that it is not going to renew it until we do not exist. Which is undemocratic and out of all reality, because it would imply that it would never be renewed until there is a general election that Pablo Casado wins, ”sources from the Podemos leadership told EL PAÍS.
In the middle of that debate, and while the PSOE faces another stage of negotiation with the PP to proceed with the renewal through the pact, the two government parties presented a letter to the president of the Cortes, the socialist Meritxell Batet on Monday , so that the month of January is enabled so that the corresponding commissions and bodies can work in Congress and resolve the reform of that organic law as quickly as possible.
The objective is that by the end of February the reform could already enter into force. January is usually non-working for ordinary parliamentary work, but this time it would no longer be, mainly due to the development of those tasks, although it would also be used to promote other pending issues, such as defining the tasks of the investigation commission of the caso Kitchen of espionage in the Ministry of the Interior during the governments of the PP or the parliamentary examinations of the 94 candidates who appeared in their day to preside over the RTVE entity.
The forecast of the PSOE and Podemos is that, if this reform is well defined and the commission works in January, by February that substantial change could be underway and the appointments that the Council plans to make outside the mandate would be prohibited. At that point there are no differences between the socialists and the formation led by Iglesias.
Where there are more public and notorious discrepancies between the PSOE’s more pactist strategy and the attempts to demarcate Podemos is on the most profound change in the law of the Judiciary, on the method of election of that Council. In October, both parties registered a bill that changed the current system for electing the 12 members to be approved by Congress and the Senate with a three-fifths majority of the House (210 seats out of 350) so that it was only by an absolute majority. (176 votes). The president, Pedro Sánchez, stopped this idea during the debate on the motion of censure presented by Vox and offered the leader of the opposition, Pablo Casado, to start another negotiation in extremis. 10 days ago Sánchez called Casado after two months of solitary confinement between the two and they had a 45-minute conversation on this matter exclusively. Nothing was advanced.
Faced with this persistent blockade of the PP, United We can for weeks warning that it has tired of waiting in vain. The Minister of Justice, Juan Carlos Campo, has tried to convince the president and some of his most disbelieving colleagues in the Cabinet and the PSOE that there is an opportunity for an agreement with the PP, but now it would be after the Catalan elections scheduled for the February 14th. In public, however, Casado and almost all the leaders of the PP maintain the same conditions to negotiate a way out of the jam of institutional positions as those expressed since the summer, and which are summarized in that neither United We Can nor people around them can have a place in the negotiation of the future Council of the Judiciary.
Negotiators on both sides – Juan Carlos Campo for the Government and Enrique López for the PP – agreed on a distribution of the 20 members that included a quota of 10 proposed by each, with a president closer to the progressive sector, and with candidates from proven and independent profiles. But that negotiation has not come to square in names and the PP does not trust that within the progressive bloc the PSOE does not end up including judges or experts close to Podemos.
In Podemos they do not trust the eternal negotiation underway between the representatives of the bipartisanism that has governed the country these 42 years of democracy and set the pace of many of its institutions. They want substantive changes in the judicial sphere, especially in view of the political course and trials that are approaching in 2021. Some of them affect corruption cases that are very important for the PP or relevant resolutions, such as pardons to politicians imprisoned for their convictions in the independence process in Catalonia.
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