In October of last year, the Government and the Popular Party announced an agreement to renew various institutions: the Constitutional Court, the Court of Auditors, the Ombudsman and finally the Spanish Data Protection Agency. The names were known a few days later and the Supreme Court has just provisionally suspended the renewal process of this last body: the judges understand that an announcement of an agreement between political parties with names included does not square with the public and transparent process that they must follow the candidates to take charge of Data Protection.
Government and PP close the renewal of the Constitutional Court and the Court of Auditors
The agreement between the Government and the PP to renew almost all the institutions, except for the General Council of the Judiciary, was announced at the end of October: four new magistrates for the Constitutional Court, Ángel Gabilondo as the new Ombudsman, a total of 12 new members for the Court of Auditors and a new address for the AEPD. Belén Cardona, professor, would be the new director while Borja Adsuara, lawyer, would be your deputy. The first was a proposal from the PSOE and the second from the PP.
The agreement began to transform into an appointment at the end of February, when the Council of Ministers communicated to the Congress of Deputies the proposal of candidates to occupy both positions. The two candidates already announced by both political parties were on the list along with two other candidates. These are not discretionary appointments: according to the Law, the process must respect “the principles of merit, capacity, competence and suitability” and it must be the Justice Commission of Congress that ratifies the appointments with a three-fifths majority.
One of the candidates, unaware of the agreement between the PP and PSOE to renew the body, appealed to the third chamber of the Supreme Court and the judges have just suspended the process as a precautionary measure. For the judges “there has been a fashionable procedure that could lend itself to giving formal coverage to a designation already made when the call is made” and the entire election process, therefore, has been “rooted vitiated” since after the announcement no longer there is no election process. “There is no such process but mere appearance”, settles the Supreme Court.
The Data Protection Agency, recalls the Supreme Court, is an independent body and it is necessary to suspend the renewal procedure in a precautionary manner. If the sentence were upheld and the judges agreed with the candidate who has appealed, says the Supreme Court, the reputational damage to the Agency “within Spain and before the European Union” would be even greater than the nullity of the procedure.
The resource referred exclusively to the presidency of the Agency but the judges extend the effects of the precautionary measures to the deputy. “The reason is that the procedure is unique, that procedure that has been radically modified affects both positions, then its vice is totally, from the root, to which is added that both positions are interrelated since it corresponds to the Auxiliary Deputy and replace the president and the demands for both are the same”, says the Supreme Court.