After almost four years of blockade, the PP promises to present to the Government “next month” an agreement proposal to renew the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ). The popular leadership will send the Executive a document with its offer, in which, in addition to the names of the members for the governing body of the judges, there will be an offer of an agreement on a series of reforms for the “regeneration” of justice. The Institutional Deputy Secretary of the PP, Esteban González Pons, in charge of negotiating with the PSOE on the Judiciary, has also confirmed that the PP agrees to renew the council in accordance with current law, unlike the previous leadership of the popular , which required a change in the method of choosing the members so that they were chosen exclusively by the judges themselves.
The Government sees in this movement of the PP a new attempt to delay a process that has already been blocked for three and a half years and does not have much confidence that the popular ones have a real will to renew. The Executive has to decide whether to renew the two magistrates of the Constitutional Court that touch him and whose mandate expired this past Sunday. The decision will be made after the Andalusian elections, this Sunday, but in La Moncloa they do not seem very willing to continue waiting for the PP, which after three and a half years of delay and three months after the meeting between Alberto Núñez Feijóo and Pedro Sánchez in La Moncloa, where the president summoned him to have a solution before June 12, now proposes one more month of margin to propose a proposal.
The Minister of the Presidency and the Executive’s main negotiator on this matter, Félix Bolaños, said from Rome, where he met with Pope Francis, that what the Executive expects is that the PP agree to renew the CGPJ and the Constitutional without waiting any longer. “I think that the announcement that comes from the Popular Party is that as soon as possible they say that they are going to comply with the Law and the Spanish Constitution and that we are going, as soon as possible, to renew the General Council of the Judiciary and the Constitutional Court. The PP has spent more than three years failing to comply every day, from the moment it gets up until it goes to bed, with the Law and the Constitution. “You cannot theoretically be a state party if the Magna Carta and the Law are not complied with,” he assured. What La Moncloa does not clarify at the moment is whether it will renew the two Supreme Court magistrates that touch it without waiting for the PP. That decision will come as soon as the Andalusian elections are over.
As soon as he arrived last April at the presidency of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo announced his willingness to renew the CGPJ. The party then resumed talks with the government, forged with total secrecy by both parties. However, the popular leader later decided that he would not agree until the Andalusian elections of June 19 had elapsed, and the negotiation was once again frozen. Now, the PP is committed to at least that after the appointment with the polls its agreement offer will not be stranded in a drawer. “Next month, or before a month has passed”, González Pons specified, “the PP will send the Government a proposal to renew the constitutional bodies, to reform justice and to regenerate justice”.
The paralysis in the talks had once again aroused suspicions that the PP was dragging its feet to renew the CGPJ and the Constitutional Court, which have to change from a conservative to a progressive majority with the renewal. But the PP maintains that it is going to comply with the legal mandate and now sets at least a temporary framework for the agreement, which until today it has resisted defining.
However, the PP includes in the renewal a package of reforms, the content of which it refuses to reveal, and which could imply a new disagreement with the Government. The popular believe that the blockade of the CGPJ ―in which the PP has actively participated― and other decisions related to the field of justice of the Government―such as the appointment as Attorney General of the State of a former Executive Minister, Dolores Delgado―force to approve in parallel and at the same time a series of reforms. “We believe that the constitutional mandate must be fulfilled, that the mandate of the organic law must be fulfilled, that the constitutional bodies must be renewed, but the situation is so serious that a simple renewal is not enough,” González Pons defended. “It is not enough for the PSOE and the PP to sit in a small room in La Moncloa and exchange cards. We have to go one step further ”, he has abounded.
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But postponing the renewal after the Andalusian ones implies that, since June 12, the Constitutional Court has been left with four of its twelve members in office. That day the nine years of mandate of those four expired (two that correspond to appoint the Government and two to the Council of the Judicial Power). The Executive has opened the door to appoint the two magistrates that correspond to it before the global agreement with the PP, but in the Feijóo leadership they maintain that this would “break” the Constitution, put “the legitimacy of the court in question” and cause a scolding of the European Union, according to González Pons. In the opinion of the PP, if La Moncloa is in a hurry to fill these vacancies, it would be preferable that it repeal the reform it approved to prohibit an acting CGPJ from approving significant appointments. In the Executive, on the contrary, they see that Feijóo is making delaying maneuvers like his predecessor, Pablo Casado, and they do not rule out taking the fast track and renewing the two magistrates that correspond to him to at least break the blockade, although they are aware that this would greatly complicate the possibility of any pact with the PP. The key is to know if the popular will to renew is real or if they are wasting time to see if the end of the legislature is near and the majority changes. These unknowns will be resolved shortly, almost certainly before the holidays.
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