Thursday, December 1

The Congress of the PP of Salamanca hangs from the court

A court will decide if the Provincial Congress of the PP of Salamanca can continue to delay without anyone giving reasons. The demand of an affiliate has already achieved that, for the moment, the Court of First Instance 6 indicates a hearing on December 14 to decide if the precautionary measure that it requests must be agreed: that the Popular Party be ordered the “immediate” convening of Congress. With the lawsuit, to which elDiario.es has had access, the affiliate wants the fundamental right of association to be protected in its political association aspect and to declare that the PP has violated it.

The provincial congress accumulates an obvious delay. The statutes of the PP specify that they must be held every four years and the term for the celebration of Salamanca expired on May 27, 2021. A year and five months later it has not been called, nor as explained from the party to this newspaper A few months ago there was a planned date for it. According to the plaintiff, “multiple members of the Popular Party of Salamanca” requested in writing to the National Committee of Guarantees the celebration of said Provincial Congress, but from Genoa that complaint was transferred to the Autonomous Committee of Rights and Guarantees of Castilla y León, which in turn gave a “vague and indeterminate” answer. “We inform you that the National Committee of Rights and Guarantees, in this Autonomous Committee, has just received the letter that you once sent, also signed by the affiliates, in relation to the celebration of the provincial congress of the Popular Party of Salamanca. In this regard, I indicate that, once it has become known, the appropriate actions will begin by providing the appropriate information”.

The affiliates returned to Génova 13 on July 28, 2022 with a burofax for the president of the Committee of Rights and Guarantees of the Popular Party, José Antonio Monago, reiterating the complaint “without receiving a response to date”. That is why a lawsuit has been filed requesting a precautionary measure. The plaintiff argues that the PP is a “blatant non-compliance” with its own statutes by which it is governed, as well as with the Organic Law of Political Parties itself and therefore the infringement of the fundamental right it invokes. But in addition, there is jurisprudence from the First Chamber of the Supreme Court (STS 4207/2020). In 2016, a PP affiliate filed a lawsuit for the same reason when the PP National Congress that was to be held in February 2015 was delayed. The Supreme ruled in his favor declaring “that the non-convocation of the national congress of the Popular Party that should have been held in February 2015” violated his right of association in its aspect of the right to democratic participation in the party and sentenced the Popular Party to pay the costs of first instance.

The lawsuit specifies that the Executive Committee, which must meet according to the statutes once a month, in the entire year 2020 only met once, in 2021 twice, by two extraordinary boards of directors and in 2022, it has only been held an extraordinary board meeting “which accounts for the poor internal functioning of the Popular Party of Salamanca, with serious breaches of its own Statutes.”

The ‘primary case’ and an imputed president

What can partly explain the paralysis of the PP in Salamanca, is also in court. The president, Javier Iglesias, has been charged in the ‘primary case’, since November 2021, when he was called to testify as an investigator. Although Iglesias testified as a witness on the first occasion, on that second, to which he had to go with a lawyer, he decided not to testify and based himself on an appeal that he had filed on that summons, something totally unusual in the judicial field.

With an imputed president and a budding congress, there were only two options: that Iglesias, imputed, be a candidate again with the risk of failing, or that he be removed and it be understood that his judicial situation was serious, which would also leave in the air his continuity as president of the Diputación de Salamanca. The problem is that the PP has waited for the judicial situation to be resolved and time has passed without the Provincial Court of Salamanca having ruled on whether or not Iglesias should declare as investigated before the investigating judge.

What is investigated in the ‘primary case’ is an alleged illegal financing of the party that would have occurred in 2017, a week before the primaries won by the current president of Castilla y León, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco. At the head of this financing would be Iglesias, as president of the PP of Salamanca.

In just one week, between March 10 and 17 of that year, the party raised more than 60,000 euros to pay fees from delinquent members and get them to vote in the primaries in favor of Mañueco who was facing Antonio Silván, then mayor of León and dolphin of Juan Vicente Herrera. Mañueco won them and became president of the PP of Castilla y León. The money, according to the official account, came from “altruistic donations from high-ranking party officials,” who, because they did not know, as they admitted before the judge, do not know who they gave the money to or what debts they were paying with the organization.

In those primaries, 1,400 militants registered to vote, 1,200 voted, and of these, 800 were defaulters who regularized their quotas at the last moment. The operation was a success. The mechanics to collect 61,937.65 euros, or as Javier Iglesias himself called it when he testified as a witness, “the enormous machinery”, consisted of Popular Party officials at the provincial, regional and national levels, delivering amounts that ranged between 300 and 1,000 euros per head. The decision does not have a person responsible either: it arose “spontaneously” when it was learned that the PP would hold primaries for the first time and that one of the candidates to preside over the party in the region was Fernández Mañueco from Salamanca.

As published exclusively by eldiario.es last February, among those altruistic donors was Mañueco himself, who presented a document in court in which he acknowledged having contributed 1,000 euros “in cash”.



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