The Permanent Commission of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) agreed at its meeting this Thursday to delay from September 24 to 30 the Plenary Session that will foreseeably include in its agenda the debate and voting of 13 appointments in the judicial leadership despite be on duty. Among them, those of three magistrates of the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court, which has the last word in most criminal cases that are tried in Spain and through which corruption cases pass. In the High Court, appointments for magistrates are for life unless the person concerned resigns.
The Judiciary will continue to appoint judges with the expired majority of Rajoy after the PP blocking its renewal
The president of the CGPJ, Carlos Lesmes, from whom the proposal to delay the plenary session to the last day of September, made it clear this Monday in his speech at the solemn act of Opening of the Judicial Year that the appointments to the judicial leadership must continue to develop “normally”. “The opposite would be to breach the fundamental rule itself,” he said. Lesmes – whose mandate and that of the twenty members of the Plenary of the Judiciary has expired since November 2018 – was a senior position in the governments of José María Aznar.
The governing body of the judges wins time to be able to award eight seats in the next plenary session to whose candidates the Permanent Commission is interviewing these weeks. There are three corresponding to the presidencies of three chambers of the Supreme Court – the Litigation, the Social and the Military – and another five more, among which are the presidencies of the Supreme Court of the Basque Country, of the Social Chamber of the National Court and of the Cáceres Court. The procedure establishes that, after the interviews, the Standing Committee proposes a shortlist of candidates for each position and the Plenary once again has the last word.
The election of the other five seats – three in the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court and the presidencies of the Higher Court of Justice of the Canary Islands and the Provincial Court of Ourense – has been pending since last July, when the majority of the Plenary voted in favor of removing voting on these discretionary appointments on the agenda given the existence of negotiations between the Government and the PP for the renewal of the CGPJ. At the beginning of this month, the Council decided to resume the appointments due to the refusal of the PP to sit down and negotiate an agreement for its renewal.
An interim Council that has nothing to do with the current composition of the Cortes Generales in charge of appointing its members – four general elections have been held since it was elected – has so far agreed the renewal of an additional 43 high-level positions in the main courts. Twelve of them in the Supreme Court, two in the National Court, 14 in the regional superior courts and 15 in provincial courts.