The next 48 hours will be key for the future of the Constitutional Court. As soon as its four new members take office this Thursday, the mechanism for the immediate election of the next president will be activated, who will replace Juan José González Rivas, one of the magistrates who concludes his mandate. The one chosen by the conservative sector, the majority, is Professor Pedro González-Trevijano, they have advanced to elDiario.es court sources. The progressives will vote in favor and one of them will occupy the position of vice president, José Antonio Xiol.
The vote will take place this Friday. González Rivas will be replaced on Thursday, temporarily and for just 24 hours, by Santiago Martínez-Vares, in whom this responsibility falls as he is the oldest magistrate. The Constitutional regulations do not oblige the election of the president to be immediate, but Martínez-Vares wants to hold the vote immediately because in the next few days he will be dismissed for medical reasons. Thus, the interim president plans to convene a plenary session for Friday and it is most likely that the vote will take place that same day in the afternoon.
Some sources of the court attribute to an agreement with an integrating vocation the fact that a progressive holds the vice-presidency while others consider that it is due to the tradition that a member of the majority sensitivity occupies the presidency and that the vice-presidency is reserved for those who they are in the minority.
González-Trevijano, Rapporteur of the sentence that knocked down the first state of alarmHe will be at the head of the Constitutional Court for only six months, the remaining months for him to conclude his mandate as a magistrate of the body that interprets the fundamental rule. Both parties agree that their work should focus on keeping the Constitutional Court away from the controversies in which it has been involved in recent months, related to discrepancies when ruling on issues as relevant as the state of alarm with the that the Government faced the Covid health crisis and that it was the subject of an appeal by Vox, the parliamentary force of the extreme right.
The situation worsened with the first agreement between the Government and the PP for the renewal of the constitutional bodies, focusing the dispute on the figure of the conservative Enrique Arnaldo Alcubilla, one of the four new members of the Constitutional Party who will take office this Thursday. Together with Arnaldo, the president of the Criminal Chamber of the National Court, Concepción Espejel, also at the proposal of the PP, and the progressives Ramón Sáez and Inmaculada Montalbán will be incorporated.
The sources consulted are counting on the new magistrates participating in the consensus reached for the presidency and vice-presidency and that there is no other member who picks up at the last minute. Magistrate Alfredo Montoya, from the conservative sector, will be absent from the vote, on sick leave, which would not put the conservative majority at risk either. The four new magistrates reach a plenary session that endorsed their suitability with a vote against.
Key presidency and bridge period
Professor Pedro González-Trevijano, former rector of the Rey Juan Carlos University, was appointed at the proposal of the Government of Mariano Rajoy on June 12, 2013 and his nine-year term therefore expires in June of next year. That summer, if the negotiations between PSOE and PP to renew the General Council of the Judiciary are successful, González-Trevijano and three other magistrates would have to leave the Constitutional Assembly to be replaced by those appointed by the CGPJ and the Government. It will be at that moment when the balance between the conservative and progressive sectors could be reversed.
They are seven and a half months in which, however, many things can happen and in which González-Trevijano will have to drive matters of great importance. One of them will be the appeal of the PP against the Abortion Law of 2010, stuck for more than a decade and whose speaker, Andrés Ollero, leaves his post this Friday after the renewal. Now it will be necessary to assign a new speaker and it will be González-Trevijano’s decision if the case is studied before or after the next renewal of a third of the plenary session.
The case of the Vox appeal against the ‘Celaá Law’ of education will also see its future in the hands of the new president. The presentation, as revealed by elDiario.es, is already prepared by a magistrate, Ricardo Enriquez, whose mandate does not expire for several years, and the debate was scheduled for the plenary session a few weeks ago until the renewal took place. González-Trevijano will have to decide when the matter is brought up again. The same happens with the Child Protection Act christened the ‘Rhodes Act’.
Once the month of June arrives there are several open stages. The renewal of the CGPJ towards a progressive majority composition would facilitate the presence of a progressive majority also in the Constitutional Court. The next four members who will renew the Government and the Council will replace the conservatives Antonio Narváez, Santiago Martínez-Vares and Pedro José García-Trevijano as well as the progressive Juan Antonio Xiol. At that time a new president will have to be elected.