Friday, September 24

One thousand days of undemocratic blockade of the Judiciary

To those who call themselves “constitutionalists”: is it too much to ask that they comply with the Constitution? The Magna Carta is very clear, and does not admit any other interpretation. The mandate of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) is five years. Only five. After that period, the governing body of the judges has to be renewed, by a three-fifths majority of the Congress and the Senate. It is something that happens with democratic normality whenever the left loses the elections. But that is never fulfilled when it is the PP who loses them, and it is their turn to give up that power.

This Tuesday, August 31, marks a thousand days since a kidnapping: that of the Judiciary. It has been almost three years since the mandate of the current CGPJ expired, which was elected in 2013, when the PP had 186 deputies. Today it is only 90, and that is why the right refuses to renew. Maintaining this blockade serves the PP to retain in a spurious way an absolute majority in the Judiciary that it has lost at the polls for years. It is the same that they also do in the Court of Accounts, in the Ombudsman and in the Constitutional Court.

This expired CGPJ is not ornamental advice, as I have explained in more detail in previous articles. He is the one who decides the appointments of the most important judges. Among others, all those of the Supreme Court.

Since its five-year constitutional mandate ended, the acting CGPJ has approved 76 appointments – until Parliament blocked their power, which they exercised in a rather questionable way. They are judges chosen by the right with an expired majority, and who will remain in the Supreme Court until their retirement.

One thousand days of blockade of the Judiciary is the new national record. But it is not even the first time that the PP uses this filibustering and undemocratic technique, against the constitutional mandate. “Justice emanates from the people,” says the Constitution. Unless the people vote to the left, it seems.

In the last three decades, the PSOE has ruled for 16 years compared to 14 for the PP. But the members appointed by the PP have had the majority in the CGPJ for 20 of those 30 years. All this, thanks to the different blockades that the right has applied to guarantee that power.

In these thousand days of kidnapping, the PP has been changing the conditions for release. One day the excuse is that EH Bildu has voted in favor of the Budgets. To the other, that United We can criticize the king. Or that they will not renew the CGPJ if the PSOE does not remove its coalition partner from the Government. It is an argument as undemocratic as if Pedro Sánchez refused to call a new general election until the PP breaks its pacts with Vox.

The PP also uses another lie, spread widely by Casado: that the Constitution says that the members of the CGPJ have to be chosen by the judges themselves. It is not like this. And it should be remembered that the system of election of the members of the CGPJ that is in force is only criticized by the PP when it is in the opposition.

In 2013, the Government of Rajoy reformed the organic law of the Judicial Power. He had promised in the campaign to do what Casado is now asking: that the judges elect a majority of the members of the CGPJ. It was just the opposite of what he later approved.

The main reason for this lock is another, actually. It is not Podemos, nor Bildu, nor the election system. The PP does it because it benefits them and because it is free. The polarization and information manipulation have reached such extremes that, for the PP, it has more political wear and tear to comply with the Constitution.

Can you imagine the headlines if it were the left that kidnapped the judiciary for a thousand days? Would they talk about something else in Spain?

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