Saturday, March 6

The PP now sees the agreement to renew the judiciary closer | Spain

On the right, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, during his meeting with the leader of the PP, Pablo Casado in La Moncloa in September.
On the right, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, during his meeting with the leader of the PP, Pablo Casado in La Moncloa in September.Fernando Villar / EFE

The PP now sees the agreement to renew several constitutional bodies closer, after having resumed talks with the Government after the Catalan elections. The popular ones maintain that they perceive a change in the PSOE that facilitates that there is a pact, if not imminent, yes very near. The Executive also transmits that it sees the agreement close both in the Judicial Power and in RTVE, with a key vote on Thursday. The key to the negotiation is the role of United We Can.

The main opposition party is familiar with the music it hears from La Moncloa in the negotiations that have resumed in recent days. The PSOE and the PP are close to reaching an agreement that includes the renewal of the General Council of the Judiciary, the Ombudsman, the RTVE Board of Directors and the Constitutional Court. The popular ones maintain that the Socialists have moved with a more generous offer, while from the PSOE they believe that the unlocking occurs because Pablo Casado no longer has such complex elections as the Catalan ones ahead, where finally Vox has doubled in votes.

Sánchez and Casado resume contacts after the Catalans to renew the Judicial Power and RTVE

The Executive has offered the PP, according to popular sources, to agree on the direction of RTVE, beyond the presidency and the Board of Directors. And also, according to these same sources, the PSOE “is considering that United We can be left out of the General Council of the Judiciary.” This would imply that none of the 20 members were at the proposal of Pablo Iglesias’ party, as the PP has always demanded to agree.

From the socialist sector of the Government they deny this version that the PP transfers. They point out that nothing has yet been closed, and that the possibility that United We can remain completely out of the cast has not been raised. From the group of Pablo Iglesias they add that they in no case would accept to be left out and they trust that the negotiation does not reach that point. The PSOE could carry out the renewal with the votes of the PP, but it would suppose a very hard fracture with United We Can that would put the Government at risk and this does not seem to be the intention of the PSOE.

The Moncloa and the PP were already speaking before the Catalans of a distribution of ten to ten of the members of the council. The Socialists included among their ten names at least two at the proposal of United We Can. According to the popular, now the PSOE would be willing not to enter any vowel related to UP. In the PP they believe that the Socialists are distancing themselves from their partners and even seek to “provoke” them.

The two parties have been talking for some time about the names that would make up the council, in a negotiation led by the PP Secretary General, Teodoro García Egea, and by the Government Félix Bolaños, Secretary General of the Presidency and Pedro Sánchez’s henchman, although there is no official confirmation. The Minister of Justice, Juan Carlos Campo, and the secretary of justice of the popular, Enrique López, have also participated in the negotiations, but in this final phase it is the leaders’ teams that are closing it, with Iván Redondo and Pablo Hispán , the heads of Cabinet, in permanent contact to close the calls between Sánchez and Casado.

In reality, the agreement was already well worked out before the Catalan elections, but the PP waited for a more favorable political context —with no elections in sight— provided that the Government did not first approve possible pardons for the prisoners of the process.

Several failed attempts at agreement and a reform

The PSOE and the PP have been close to closing the agreement to renew the General Council of the Judiciary several times since Pedro Sánchez is in La Moncloa. The last time last summer, when the PP backed down due to the political context.

In August 2020, the Government and the PP reached an agreement in principle on everything: renewal of the Judicial Power, the Constitutional Court, the RTVE council and the Ombudsman. With some names already on the table, as published then by EL PAÍS. It only remained to finish it off with all the details. But Pablo Casado, just after his then parliamentary spokesperson, Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo, revealed on the day of his dismissal, August 17, that the pact was finalized, backed down. The PP never admitted that the pact was so closed, although the initial intention was, and assured that what changed is the attitude of United We Can in August, when the scandal broke out over the departure of King Juan Carlos of Spain before the news about his opaque beads. Those of Pablo Iglesias then attacked the Monarchy.

The previous attempt at an agreement was in 2019. The pact fell apart because Judge Manuel Marchena, the president of the Judiciary that Sánchez and Casado had agreed to, resigned from the battle when a message from the PP spokesman, Ignacio Cosidó, was published in the one who told his senators that with Marchena the PP was going to “control the second room from behind.”

Following successive failed attempts, the government tried to reform the law to lower the parliamentary majority required for the appointment of council members, but received a wake-up call from the European Commission.

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