Friday, February 3

The conservatives of the Judiciary fail in their attempt to impose their two candidates for the Constitutional and veto the one of the progressives

The conservative members of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) have failed in their claim to impose their two candidates for the Constitutional Court —César Tolosa and Pablo Lucas—, while they have certified their veto to the magistrate chosen by the progressives, José Manuel Bandres. It is the main conclusion of the extraordinary plenary session held this Tuesday by the governing body of the judges, in which none of the proposed applicants has reached the 11 necessary votes, which requires obtaining the support of members of both blocks, now made up of ten conservatives and eight progressives. Despite the fact that the legal deadline expired on September 13, it was the first time that the plenary session has met to vote for the two magistrates that the CGPJ must appoint.

The Constitutional gags Parliament


The negotiation between the two sectors has been broken for weeks. And this has been evidenced by the votes on Tuesday. The sector of members elected at the proposal of the PP has unanimously supported the two candidates who proposed a week ago —the conservative César Tolosa and the progressive Pablo Lucas—, who have obtained 10 votes each. And the progressives have also supported their official candidate, José Manuel Bandrés, who has garnered seven votes. Enrique Lucas, a member elected at the proposal of the PNV and who is usually placed in the progressive sector, did not participate in the vote as his brother Pablo Lucas was one of the names in contention. His abstention has not lowered the necessary quorum, which has remained at 11 votes.

The conservatives have made another attempt to lower that quorum: to ask the progressive vocal Clara Martínez de Careaga not to participate in the vote because she is the wife of Cándido Conde Pumpido, who aspires to preside over the Constitutional. But she has refused to do so and the recusal mechanism is not provided for in the CGPJ, so that route has failed.

After weeks of questioning his candidacy in private, the veto of Bandrés by the conservative block was made clear last week by proposing Tolosa (its preferred candidate) and Lucas, who was the other name considered by the progressives to go to the Constitutional Court, although in an internal vote the majority opted for Bandrés. His candidacy was supported by the entire group of members elected at the proposal of PSOE and IU except for member Mar Cabrejas, who abstained, and Enrique Lucas, who did not participate in the vote. With this movement, the conservatives sought to break the progressive block, although the vote on Tuesday shows that their strategy has failed.

This plenary session was held at the request of the conservatives, who after months boycotting the appointments called for an extraordinary meeting to try to get around the legal reform that the Government was preparing to break that blockade by reducing the majorities to approve them. The new system guaranteed that the preferred candidates from each block would be elected, with no possibility of cross-vetoing. It contemplated that the two applicants who obtained the highest number of votes would be designated and that each member could only vote for one candidate. In this way, the arrival of the preferred candidate of the conservatives (Tolosa) and the progressives (Bandrés) would have been facilitated, which is something that the majority group wanted to avoid at all costs, since they consider him the candidate for the Government.

This scenario changed this Monday night after the Constitutional Court suspended the processing of that reform which, in practice, prevented the members elected at the proposal of the PP from continuing to impose their blocking minority and boycotting the appointments. The decision of the guarantee court leaves its own renewal in the air. The majority position of the conservative bloc of the Constitutional Court is that the court should not grant approval to the two magistrates chosen by the Government if they do not arrive accompanied by the other two that the CGPJ has to choose.

The delay in its renewal is causing that body to have a conservative majority that does not correspond to the one that came out of the polls. And this is the court that must rule on such sensitive issues as educational reform, abortion or euthanasia.