The General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) is serving two and a half years in office this Friday without the glimpse of an agreement between the Government and the PP for its renewaln, while 38 judicial positions are vacant or blocked ante la inability to make discretionary appointments with expired mandate.
The legal reform promoted by the PSOE and United We Can and that prevents the CGPJ from filling those vacancies sought to pressure the popular to sit down to negotiate, but for the moment it has not had any effect.
The last obstacle is the possible pardons to those convicted of the ‘procés’, a measure of grace that the PP assures that it prevents him from sitting down to negotiate with the Government, since he does not trust him.
That mistrust has brought its leader, Pablo Casado, to demand that the system of election of the members of the CGPJ be reformed before electing the new members, but the Government is not willing and maintains that first it is necessary to renew, and then talk about changes.
Thus, according to EFE sources from the CGPJ, there are currently 38 positions of discretionary appointment vacant (either due to retirements, deaths or termination of mandates), among them nine Supreme Court magistrates (11% of the total).
Neither can seventeen places be convened in higher courts of justice., including five presidencies, and twelve presidencies of provincial audiences, positions in which their former occupants continue to function when the term ends.
The current system for electing members of the CGPJ, by a three-fifths majority in Parliament, has been in force since 1985, despite the fact that the main judges’ associations, as recommended by the European institutions, have been demanding for years that the judges directly elect at least half of the members to avoid politicizing the body.
Throughout the last decades popular and socialists have preferred to negotiate the composition of the Council based on their respective parliamentary majorities, allowing nationalist or minority forces to enter, according to the legislature.
And so they decided to act in 2018, when they agreed on the names of the twenty new members and elected the Supreme Court magistrate Manuel Marchena to preside over them.
But Marchena declined the offer claiming his independence after it leaked a wasap of the then PP spokesman in the Senate, Ignacio Cosidó, in which he defended the pact reached with the socialists because they would control “the Second Chamber (of the Supreme) from behind”.
The agreement was broken and the popular ones even presented a proposal of law to change the system of election of the members, but with the new legislature they parked the proposal and returned to negotiate with the Socialists.
On several occasions the pact has been forthcoming, but two years and six months later it has not yet seen the light.
From the PSOE they accuse the PP of breaching the constitutional mandate and always blocking the renewal of the CGPJ when he comes to the opposition – he did it between 2006 and 2008 – while the popular ones insist that they cannot trust the Sánchez government and leave the reform of the governing body of the judges for later.
They also continue to reject that members of the new Council enter the new Council at the proposal of Podemos, such as Judge José Ricardo de Prada, a candidacy defended by the Executive and that blew up the principle of agreement that was looming last February.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.