Delgado faces a complicated mandate with a Fiscal Council cornered by the internal opposition

Delgado faces a complicated mandate with a Fiscal Council cornered by the internal opposition

The Fiscal Council faces a complicated mandate for Attorney General Dolores Delgado. The association to which she belonged, the Progressive Union of Prosecutors, has collapsed in an election in which the conservative and majority Association of Prosecutors (AF) has won an absolute majority. The Professional and Independent Association, extremely critical of his management, has obtained a seat on the Council for the first time in its history. A stage is coming to an end that those closest to Delgado interpreted as a positive change and that others, however, have drawn as an attempt by the progressive sector of the race to take the Prosecutor's Office by storm.

Dolores Delgado, currently recovering from surgery, remains at the head of a manifestly hostile Fiscal Council after a convulsive first term from day one. From the same Monday, January 13, in which it was learned that Delgado, until then Minister of Justice, was going to be Attorney General, the Association of Prosecutors made its position clear it's a statement which showed his "discomfort and concern about the image of politicization and lack of independence and impartiality transmitted by placing a person who had been Minister of Justice until a few hours ago at the top of the prosecutor's career."

At that time, the opposition of this association had a counterweight within the Fiscal Council itself. Delgado's Progressive Union of Prosecutors had only one member less than them and that gave them much more strength than in other mandates to defend their positions. The criticisms were immediate and the AF took a year and a half to ask for Delgado's resignation for an appointment policy that it considered "arbitrary" and that it did not take long to take to court.

An election system that had not been questioned until now became, in the eyes of the AF chaired by Cristina Dexeus, a way to control key positions in the Public Prosecutor's Office and place them in the hands of UPF. In December 2020, for example, the five prosecutors of this association abstained when he proposed Juan Ignacio Campos as deputy prosecutor of the Supreme Court, the only one who had applied for the position. The reason, they said, was not the candidate himself, but the fact that some media had published that he was the favorite for the job.

The discrepancy in some appointments quickly ended up in court, resources that have recently borne fruit. The Supreme Court has annulled the appointment of Eduardo Esteban as prosecutor of the juvenile court after estimating the allegations of another candidate and the Association of Prosecutors. A resolution celebrated by the majority association, received with skepticism by another part of the prosecutor's career that highlights Esteban's suitability for the position and that forces Delgado to repeat the process.

It is not the only appointment appealed and it has not been, by far, the most criticized. The AF's accusations have not been limited to the appointments themselves: they affirm that Delgado's objective has been to create a board of courtroom prosecutors, the chief staff of the Prosecutor's Office, favorable and dominated by members of the progressive association. A year ago, in another statement, affirmed that the objective of the attorney general was "to procure a Board of Prosecutors of the Chamber that does not give her frights". Recently, for example, more than half of the members of that board of public prosecutors have addressed Delgado by letter asking him to stop a PSOE legislative initiative in Congress.

The version is not the same from the other side of the Fiscal Council table. Many are surprised that the Prosecutors Association has passed with such hostility to the attack against the appointments of Dolores Delgado in discretionary positions after not having questioned the system when the positions were taken over by members of her association. The progressive association expressed its discomfort it's a statement last March and reproached the AF for, for example, defending before the Supreme Court that its candidate for juvenile court prosecutor had more experience than Eduardo Esteban but then also supported him to run for positions such as the support unit or immigration , where he had "noticeably less experience".

The wear, in any case, has been public for Delgado, who will now have to deal with a Fiscal Council with an overwhelming majority of the Association of Prosecutors. He is unlikely, therefore, to support his appointments. The opinion of the Fiscal Council is not binding to propose an appointment, but the 1983 rule that regulates its operation specifies that it must "be heard regarding the appointment of the various positions." The controversy is served, therefore, if Delgado proposes a candidate who does not have the support of the AF. Delgado's handling of the departure of Ignacio Stampa from Anticorruption –one of the prosecutors in the Tándem case– has also cost him a request for resignation of the majority and conservative association.

The new Fiscal Council will have an unprecedented composition. In addition to the classic balance of forces between the AF and UPF, there is a third association that for the first time in its history has won a seat on the Fiscal Council: the Professional and Independent Association of Public Prosecutors (APIF) and its president, Salvador Viada. A prosecutor for more than 37 years, Viada has worked in the Public Ministry of the Supreme Court and in recent times has acquired a very marked profile when it comes to criticizing the appointment system of which he will now become a part and the distribution of appointments between the two dominant associations.

The new Fiscal Council has a tight schedule ahead of it. The body has pending, for example, to issue its report on the Trans Law after it has already done so the General Council of the Judiciary with its critical text approved in recent weeks. He also has pending the annulment of the appointment of Eduardo Esteban as prosecutor of the juvenile court. With half the support of half the members of her old association, Dolores Delgado will have to face a majority of the Fiscal Council that is willing to denounce her appointments if necessary.

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