The Government is preparing the direct renewal of the Constitutional in case the PP continues to drag on
The president, Pedro Sánchez, receives the leader of the opposition, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, at La Moncloa on April 7.
The president, Pedro Sánchez, receives the leader of the opposition, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, at La Moncloa on April 7.andrea commas

The renewal of the constitutional bodies has become a very long game of chess between the two major parties in which the PP, in an absolutely unprecedented way, keeps the General Council of the Judiciary blocked for almost an entire legislature. The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and his direct negotiators in this matter —at this time, Félix Bolaños, Minister of the Presidency— tried everything with Pablo Casado. The pact was practically closed twice, and at the last moment the PP leader backed down due to pressure from the conservative world. Now they are doing it again with Alberto Núñez Feijóo, but they are not going to wait much longer: if the PP continues to delay it, the Executive will directly appoint the two magistrates that correspond to it in the Constitutional Court and with this the majority will change without waiting for the PP. The decision, which will come after the Andalusians on Sunday, is ready to be finished off by the president, Pedro Sánchez.

The last movement was in November 2021. The PSOE and United We Can swallowed a very important political frog: they voted for Enrique Arnaldo, the controversial jurist with close economic ties to the PP who was charged in a corruption case. Both the socialists and Yolanda Díaz’s group were absolutely convinced at that time that the cost was worth it because in exchange they would be able to unblock the renewal of the Judiciary and now, on June 12, renew the rest of the Constitutional Court so that change the majority, from conservative to progressive, as corresponds to what the Spanish voted in 2019. But the date has arrived and the PP, with a new leadership, continues to stall.

The popular ones have announced that in the next month they will send a renewal proposal. But the government can no longer stand any more delays after three and a half years of blockade. The Executive, according to sources from the two sectors of the coalition, already has practically everything ready, and has even begun to talk internally about possible candidates, to directly renew the two magistrates that correspond to it if the PP continues to stall.

The decision will probably be made this week, depending on the reaction of the popular after the Andalusian elections on Sunday, although it is not clear when it will be executed. If the Government understands that Alberto Núñez Feijóo’s PP, through the interlocutor it has appointed for this matter, Esteban González Pons, has a real will to renew this time, it will wait a bit. Not much.

This is plan a, which would make everything much simpler and would allow the definitive unblocking of the Judicial and Constitutional Powers. But if the Executive perceives that the PP is once again engaging in a delaying strategy to get the summer to pass and then delay a little longer until it enters the electoral period again and makes renewal impossible in this legislature, waiting for a possible change of majorities, the Executive will go in the straight line: it will renew the two magistrates that correspond to it, which would cause an immediate change of majorities, because the two whose mandate has expired are conservatives and the Government would introduce two progressives. The Executive also intends to improve the parity of the Constitutional, with which it is likely that the proposals will be one or two women.

dance of names

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In the Government this matter is handled with great secrecy, but several sources confirm that there is already beginning to be a dance of names on the table and there is a debate between the two sectors, the socialist and that of United We Can, which claims that the two names are agreed within the coalition and not imposed by the PSOE. That internal discussion has not yet been resolved, according to Executive sources, so the appointment does not seem imminent. The last time an attempt was made to renew the Judiciary with a serious negotiation, the PP blocked it by vetoing a candidate posed by United We Can, Judge José Ricardo de Prada, key in the sentence of the Gurtel case. After the PSOE and United We Can accept Arnaldo for the Constitutional, much more controversial than De Prada, a highly respected judge, United We Can is not willing to accept any more veto. In the last partial renovation, that of Arnaldo, Diaz’s group managed to introduce the appointment of a judge of this decisive court, Juan Ramón Sáez. It was the first time in history that the political space to the left of the PSOE achieved it. Now he also wants to influence this renewal.

The Government wants to give the PP some time after the Andalusians to see what its real will is. But not much. González Pons insisted last week that the PP is willing to fulfill its constitutional obligation and renew the Judiciary after three and a half years. But he put some conditions that sound like excuses to the PSOE and United We Can again. “You can not condition the fulfillment of a constitutional mandate to anything,” says a member of the Government. “That’s blackmail. After renovating we can talk about reforms. But renewing is mandatory, there can be no conditions, ”he adds.

A controversial measure

In the Executive they are aware that renewing the two that correspond directly to them, without waiting for the other two that the now blocked CGPJ has to propose, is a controversial measure that will be widely rejected in the judicial world and in the opposition. That’s why it’s not your first choice. But he’s willing to do it if there’s no fast forward because he can’t wait any longer. The Constitutional Court has to make decisions on key issues such as abortion and the Executive believes that the time to renew and change the majority cannot continue to be delayed. In the Government, all kinds of precedents and legal arguments have been studied to refute those who say that renewing partially – only the two that correspond to the Executive – would be unconstitutional.

There are already several reports prepared with a fundamental argument: there is no law that specifically prohibits doing something like this, and the doctrine of the Constitution itself —sentence 191/2016— indicates that the blocking of one body cannot harm the other, which is willing to renew. In addition, another precedent has been sought: in 1980 the Constitutional Court started with 10 of the 12 magistrates because the General Council of the Judiciary had not yet been created, and it did not wait for it to appoint its two. Now it would not be because it has not been created, but because it is blocked, but the Executive understands that it can be done the same as then.

Despite the fact that they are very convinced of their legal arguments, the Executive wants to avoid, if possible, the enormous tension that this decision would entail. But the ball, they point out in the Government, is in the hands of the PP, which is the one who has been “breaking the Constitution” for three and a half years, according to Pedro Sánchez, who raised this demand three months ago to Alberto Núñez Feijóo, when they met in Moncloa. The PP leader then asked for time and then wait for the Andalusians. Starting Monday, time is running out.

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