The PSOE wants Congress to proceed to renew the ten institutional bodies whose total or partial mandate has expired or will expire in the coming months, as is the case of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), the Constitutional Court (TC), the Board of Directors of Radio Televisión Española (RTVE) or the Ombudsman.
In a non-law proposal registered in the Lower House and collected by Europa Press, the secretary of the PSOE’s Area of Transparency and Participatory Democracy and deputy for Guipúzcoa, Odón Elorza, argues that, once parliamentary activity resumes after his ” practical paralysis “as a consequence of the coronavirus crisis, these renewals should be promoted in the Cortes Generales.
For this, the Basque socialist raises the need for Parliament to make “the maximum effort” to achieve “a broad consensus of reinforced majorities” around people of “merit, objectively highly trained, with a track record of prestige and guarantee of independence in the development of its task “to renew institutional bodies in accordance with the constitutional and legally established deadlines.
But for some of these renewals to be a success both parties, which only add 155 seats in Congress, mainly need the PP’s contest, since some of these positions require qualified majorities. In the last meeting that President Pedro Sánchez and the PP leader, Pablo Casado, held before the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, the ‘popular’ conditioned the renewal of these organs on the Executive aborting the dialogue table with the Government Catalan.
THE CGPJ, IN FUNCTION SINCE DECEMBER 2018
Among the bodies pending renewal is the CGPJ or the TC, whose members must have the support of three-fifths of Congress (210 deputies), so that the socialists and the purple formation must add 55 votes to the 155 that add up between both for these renovations to go ahead.
The mandate of the governing body of the judges, of five years, expired in December 2018. Then, PP, PSOE and Podemos reached an agreement for his Presidency to the magistrate of the Supreme Court Manuel Marchena, but he ended up resigning his candidacy after that a whatsapp of the ‘popular’ Ignacio Cosidó leaked, presuming that, with this judge at the head of the CGPJ, the Second Chamber of the high court could be controlled “from behind”.
The CGPJ is made up of 20 members, of whom twelve are magistrates and judges and the other eight are jurists with recognized careers proposed by the parties, and among them they elect the president, a magistrate who will also preside over the Supreme Court. Half of the 20 members are voted in Congress and the other half in the Senate, at the rate of six judges and four jurists in each Chamber.
Also pending is the renewal of the four of the 12 members that make up the TC that corresponds to elect Congress, whose nine-year term ended last November. In August, the president of the High Court, Juan José González Rivas, already communicated to the president of the Chamber, Meritxell Batet, that he should initiate this procedure.
THE JEC SHOULD HAVE BEEN RENEWED BEFORE 3 MARCH
Other of the renewals that Congress must resolve is that of the members of the Central Electoral Board (JEC), which is renewed with each legislature, specifically in the 90 days after the constitution of the Cortes that, in this case, took place last December 3.
Of its 15 members, eight are magistrates of the Supreme Court chosen by lottery, five professors proposed by the groups and appointed by Congress, and two other ex-officio members who do not have a vote. After receiving the suitability endorsement of the Appointments Committee of Congress, it is the Bureau of the Chamber that informs the Government to proceed to formally designate them as members by royal decree.
Other renewals in the portfolio is that of the Presidency of the Transparency and Good Governance Council, in this case after the death, in June 2017, of which until then had been its owner, Esther Arizmendi. In this case it is the Government who appoints its president for a period of five years and Congress must endorse him in one month by an absolute majority, that is, 176 votes.
RTVE AND OMBUDSMAN, OTHER PENDING TASKS
The Government must also renew the Board of Directors of RTVE, reactivating the public contest that began in August 2018 and that was ‘frozen’ in March of last year, with the call for elections in April.
The 20 applicants to lead RTVE must go through the Congress and Senate Appointments Commission, and among them the 10 members of the Council will be elected (six in Congress and four by the Senate). They all need a minimum support of two thirds of the House in the first round (at least 233 deputies) and, failing that, an absolute majority (176 deputies) in a second vote, with the backing of four parliamentary groups. The President of the Council is elected in the Lower House, from among the 10 executive members and with the same voting system.
Another body to be renewed is the Ombudsman, a post that the socialist Francisco Fernández Marugán has held in office for almost three years and for which it is necessary for the Mixed Commission (Congress-Senate) to Relations with the Ombudsman come up with a name and have three-fifths of Congress support you. A result that must be ratified by the Senate within a maximum period of 20 days.
ALSO THE AIREF, THE FROB AND THE CNMV
In the economic sphere, the most urgent appointments are those of the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC), where its president, José María Marín Quemada, its vice president, María Fernández, and three councilors, direct the body with the mandate already fulfilled and without the possibility of reelection.
Their substitutes will be appointed by the Council of Ministers, at the proposal of the Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño, after having passed an examination before the committee of the branch in Congress. The Lower House will have an option to veto these appointments by an absolute majority.
Another mandate that expired last February was that of the president of the Independent Authority for Fiscal Responsibility (AIReF), a vacant position since its owner José Luis Escrivá will leave that position to take over the Ministry of Social Security. In this case it is the head of the Treasury, María Jesús Montero, who proposes his substitute, who must have the endorsement of the absolute majority of the branch commission in Congress. Otherwise, a simple majority would suffice, but this time from the Senate Finance Committee.
And next July, Jaime Ponce will finish the work at the head of the Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring (FROB), the fund that piloted the rescue in the financial sector and is ultimately responsible for Bankia. In this case, the candidate proposed by the Minister of the Economy, Nadia Calviño, must present his credentials to Congress, but he does not need a parliamentary endorsement for the Government to formalize his appointment.
Finally, at the end of November, the terms of office of the president of the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV), Sebastián Albella, and his vice president, Ana María Martínez-Pina, will expire, although in this case they may be renewed for another term. Of course, PSOE and United We Can, today in the Government, were then opposed to his appointment by the Government of Mariano Rajoy, who agreed with Citizens.