Seven of the 19 members of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), in office for three years and elected during the absolute majority of Mariano Rajoy, have voted this Thursday against the candidacy of Álvaro García Ortiz as Attorney General of the State. These members, with the mandate expired, consider that "it is not suitable" because they do not see in it the required impartiality, a drawback for which they use the same arguments as the PP to oppose the appointment.
The PP attacks the "independence" of the new attorney general after inviting Javier Zaragoza to a conference
Specifically, these conservative members have issued a particular ruling referring to their closeness to the outgoing attorney general, Dolores Delgado, and the participation of García Ortiz in an event organized in December 2019 in Galicia by the IDEAS Foundation, linked to the PSOE. “The freedom of any jurist to participate in the activities of legal debate that he deems appropriate is not at all disputed, but this does not exclude that these same activities have to be taken into account in all their dimension due to what this may imply from the legal point of view. perspective of access to certain public positions”, they consider.
It is the same argument that the PP used two days ago after knowing the candidacy of García Ortiz. Immediately, the party led by Alberto Núñez Feijóo released a photograph of the prosecutor during those days, pointing out that he had gone "from there to the Prosecutor's Office", accusing him of campaigning against Feijóo and pointing out his lack of "independence". Some accusations that occurred just four days after the prosecutor of the Supreme Court Chamber Javier Zaragoza participated in the third day of the PP summer courses in El Escorial, under the title 'Strengthening Europe with an alternative for the majority'.
In 2019, García Ortiz was the delegated prosecutor for the Environment and participated in a round table on sustainability with two professors from the University of Vigo and the president of Adif, Isabel Pardo de Vera. Now, the vocal critics consider that this fact supposes "a serious impediment to guarantee before the citizenship the image of impartiality and independence that must be demanded of a State Attorney General" .
The members emphasize that the event "did not consist of a debate of ideas within the framework of an academic activity, but of an entity whose reason for being is to provide ideological support to a political party." And what happened, furthermore, in a "unique" context, due to the "participation of the candidate of that political party in the elections of the territory." A context that, according to his writing, generated "inevitably an appearance of support for a partisan option incompatible with the political neutrality that can be expected from a member of the Public Prosecutor's Office."
In the letter, the members Carmen Llombart, José Antonio Ballestero, Gerardo Martínez, Juan Manuel Fernández, José María Macías, Nuria Díaz and María Ángeles Carmona, do not object to the "objective conditions" of the candidate: being a jurist of recognized prestige with At least fifteen years of professional experience. "Neither one nor the other is questioned," they admit. What they do question against the criteria of the other twelve members, including that of the president of the CGPJ, Carlos Lesmesare the “fairness requirements”.
The members take advantage of this particular vote to question the suitability of García Ortiz and, incidentally, criticize Dolores Delgado. Specifically, they consider that the future attorney general "is closely linked, from the recent responsibility he has held, to the recently resigned attorney general, whose suitability has already been controversial." “Unfortunately, time and facts have proven right to those of us who deny that suitability [a Delgado] and, as far as it seems –and to assess the suitability from the perspective of public trust, appearances count–, some of the non-laudatory episodes produced during that time are not unrelated to the management of the proposed candidate”, they affirm.
They refer to the “unclear and detrimental circumstances for the credit of the Public Ministry, such as the files followed in relation to the prosecutor Ignacio Stampa, or the response provided to the Third Chamber of the Supreme Court to insist on relevant appointments of the Prosecutor's Office declared null, they are episodes that are related to the management of the proposed candidate”.
To all this they add that "neither his career [de García Ortiz] in the Technical Secretariat of the State Attorney General's Office has been characterized during its mandate by what could be expected of it, nor does it deserve a positive judgment", because "in all that period not a single circular has been formulated that contributes to the formation of doctrine or to clarify the meaning of laws or jurisprudence”.
The members, who have spent years with the mandate expired due to the PP's blockade of the renewal of the constitutional bodies, maintain that, although the independence of the Public Prosecutor's Office presents "characteristic and characteristic notes regarding the independence of the judges", it must be governed by some canons that summarize in an old English proverb: "It is not enough that Justice is done, but it is necessary to see that Justice is done".
Thus, they consider it "admissible" that the Government be the one to propose the State Attorney General, with "a degree of discretion that must be respected", but they add that said independence, although more "weak", "also entails the duty to adjust such proposal to the requirements of legality and, above all, to those derived from the constitutional role of the Public Prosecutor's Office”.
Despite the dissenting vote of these conservative members, the Plenary of the General Council of the Judiciary considered this Thursday, by a majority of 12 votes to 7, that the court prosecutor meets the legal requirements to be appointed State Attorney General, a position for which he was proposed last Tuesday by the Council of Ministers.