The institutional shock between the Government and the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) in office adds a new episode, this definitive one. Everything about the frustrated choice of the two magistrates of the Constitutional Court that corresponds to appoint the governing body of the judges. The extraordinary plenary session convened this Thursday to make these appointments ended without an agreement. The members did not even discuss possible candidates in a four-hour meeting and limited themselves to setting "procedural rules" on how to appoint applicants that will delay the process and make it impossible to comply with the law, which after its last modification, set the deadline for next Tuesday, September 13.
The councilors agreed to continue negotiating, but with no timetable or prospect of imminently putting names on the table. Everything indicates, therefore, that the deadline set in the law, which establishes that the appointment must be made within a maximum period of three months from the day following the expiration of the previous mandate, will be exceeded. In this case, before next Tuesday, September 13.
The issue of deadlines focused part of the debates at this Thursday's meeting, although there was no consensus to include a date in the set rules or to convene another plenary session for the 13th as proposed by the member Concepción Sáez, elected at the proposal of IU, and that he was looking for a formula to comply with the law.
The blockade of the imminent renewal of the court of guarantees by the CGPJ raises the tension between the expired CGPJ and the Government, which finally decided not appoint its two magistrates of the Constitutional Court until the governing body of the judges appoints their own, as Moncloa sources have confirmed to elDiario.es. This delays the plans of the Executive of change the conservative majority for a progressive one in the Constitutionalwhich is the court in charge of interpreting the fundamental norm of the State and that will have to rule on matters as sensitive as abortion, euthanasia or the reform that prevents the CGPJ from appointing judges with expired mandates, as was happening until March 2021.
In the Government they already assume that the appointments will be made after the deadline, although they hope that they will not take too long.
This situation of blockade is propitiated by a part of the conservative sector. Eight of his members had anticipated this week his refusal to talk about appointments without first setting some "rules of the game." The underlying reason, however, is that they are against the reforms that the Government has approved to circumvent the PP's blockade of the renewal of the CGPJ, whose mandate has expired since December 2018. The first of those reforms prevented the members from continuing to name magistrates with expired mandate and the second authorized them to do so in the case of the Constitutional. After the planting of the eight conservative members, the progressives decided not to propose any candidate at the meeting this Thursday. The consequence of all this is that the governing body of the judges will end up breaking the law.
Members of the conservative sector privately acknowledge that the agreement may take weeks to reach and insist that it is essential to respect the "decision times" of the CGPJ. The reform of the law to return to the CGPJ the competence to make appointments in the Constitutional Court —and not in other courts such as the Supreme Court, where unfilled vacancies accumulate— and the fact of having also set a deadline to do so has irritated especially the members elected at the proposal of the PP. In any case, the general feeling in the CGPJ is that the appointments will be made, although after the deadline and without meeting the deadlines set in the latest legal reform promoted by the Government.
The established rules establish, among other issues, that the request to call another plenary session "will include the names of two candidates." The initiative can start from the president or from at least five members and the will is that this is already a consensus proposal – with a conservative candidate and a progressive candidate, as established by custom – that guarantees majority support. However, the sources consulted consider that the decision to postpone the vote until there are two candidates makes it even more difficult for the appointments to be made before the legal term expires.
The regulation establishes that it is enough for the president to decide or five members request it so that a plenary session must be convened within three days of the request. But in the CGPJ the majority impression is that it makes no sense to do so if there are no candidates who have enough support to be appointed. These appointments must reconcile the support of at least 12 of the 19 current members of the CGPJ plenary. They therefore need the support of members from both sectors of the body, now made up of 11 conservatives —including the president, Carlos Lesmes— and eight progressives. The result should be a conservative court magistrate and a progressive one, in accordance with custom.
The PP, for its part, has tried to benefit from the boycott carried out by the conservative sector of the Judiciary. In a statement sent to journalists on Wednesday, the leadership of Alberto Núñez Feijóo raised as a requirement to renew the CGPJ also participate in the appointment of the four Constitutional magistrates, pending since before the summer, despite the fact that the Constitution establishes that this third It corresponds to the Government and to the CGPJ itself, informs Aitor Riveiro.
A thesis that has not penetrated much and that the PP seems to have abandoned just 24 hours later. This Thursday, the general secretary, Cuca Gamarra, avoided making this relationship, and was even open to her party negotiating the new CGPJ outside the profound reform of the Justice that Feijóo proposed in July. On Wednesday she demanded that this negotiation be joint, but on Thursday Gamarra said she was willing to consider it "separately."