The Minister of Justice, Pilar Llop, yesterday again defended the election system of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) by which the two major parties, PSOE and PP, share the entire governing body of judges. Interviewed at RNE, she assured that the current model is “magnificent” and a “great institutional system”, in addition to being protected by the Constitutional Court. What she did not say is that this system is the same as the party she represents (PSOE) promised to change when it was in opposition.
Pedro Sánchez proclaimed in 2014 through his social networks: “My commitment: to regenerate democratic life is to make a CGPJ truly independent from the Government”. And the official profile of the PSOE insisted: “We must depoliticize the CGPJ, that the parties stop proposing candidates”.
In addition, the minister justified herself in a half-truth by ensuring that the current model is endorsed by the Constitutional Court. Omitted that the TC itself conditioned that constitutionality on not happening what has happened since then. In his 1986 ruling he warned about the “risk” that, “when making their proposals” of candidates agreed by the PSOE and PP, the Congress and the Senate “attend only to the division of forces existing within their own bosom and distribute the positions to be filled among the different parties in proportion to their parliamentary strength ”. In other words, the TC clarified that the governing body of the judges it should not be distributed according to the parliamentary majorities on duty, because that is exactly what causes its politicization.
Moreover, the TC itself already intuited what has happened then and it seems that it will happen once again, to the point that in that sentence warned that the partisan distributions of the CGPJ suppose a “contrary action” to the Constitutionn and advised to return to the previous model given “the existence and even probability of this risk.” He even added that “it offers little doubt” that the best way for the CGPJ “to reflect pluralism within society and especially in the Judiciary” is for judges to be able to choose 12 of the 20 members that make up this organ.
The minister now defends the opposite of Judges and Judges for Democracy (JJpD), the association to which she belonged until entering politics and that already in 2017 signed a manifesto with APM, AJFV and FJI by which all of them agreed that modifying the current system was “basic, necessary and unavoidable.” Yesterday JJpD again demanded an “immediate agreement” from the parties to unblock the Council with the same model that Llop defends and that, only afterwards, “can progress be made in the study” of a new one from “” calm and consensus ” .
Even the institutions of the European Union have been demanding for years a change in the model so that Spanish judges can elect at least half of the CGPJ. The European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, insisted again a few weeks ago, when he asked Spain for a “serious and irrevocable commitment” to modify once and for all the “magnificent” system that Llop, the PSOE and their partners are now clinging to. United We Can.
The president of the PP, Pablo Casado, insisted yesterday in Pamplona in his “Firm disposition” to renew the CGPJ provided that Sánchez agrees to “modify the law,” reports Servimedia. ABC published yesterday a proposal that transferred the Francisco de Vitoria Judicial Association (AJFV) to socialists and popular in 2018, with a system that advocates universal suffrage of judges for the election of twelve of the twenty members. Enrique López, head of Justice of the PP, valued it as “an option” in RNE, but stressed that the important thing is that the judicial members are appointed by judges directly. PP sources consulted by this newspaper maintain that the reinforcement of judicial independence is a flag of Casado.
Inés Arrimadas, leader of Cs, claimed that they have been defending a system like that of AJFV for years and they have seen how both the PP, when Mariano Rajoy governed, and the PSOE have opposed. Very critical of the distribution of other bodies such as the Constitutional Court, Arrimadas sent Sánchez and Casado letters so that now that they have discovered that they have “a large majority” – he said ironically – they can use it for state pacts.
To the European Justice
Meanwhile, six AJFV magistrates – endorsed by it in 2018 as candidates for the CGPJ – have presented an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for the blockade of almost three years in the renewal of the Council. This decision is produced after rejecting the Constitutional appeal that they presented for the guarantee body to rule on the inactivity of the Congress and Senate regarding their obligation to call individual votes to renew the CGPJ.
The TC did not go into the merits of the matter and limited itself to dismissing it for being out of time. Now, with the PSOE-PP agreement to renew the Constitutional one, the association fears a new distribution of the CGPJ subject to the interests of both parties. In the opinion of the AJFV spokesperson, Jorge Fernández Vaquero, to unblock and depoliticize Justice «it is essential to reform the election of judicial members, as Europe demands of us ”.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism