The Popular Group of Congress is going to demand that the Chamber request a report from the General Council of the Judiciary on the bill presented last Tuesday the 13th by PSOE and United We Can with which, through the reduction of the political majority necessary to elect judicial members, they propose to control the governing body of the judges.
The formula chosen by Pedro Sánchez to articulate the change in the election system of the 12 members of the CGPJ who must come from the judicial career – a proposal of the parliamentary groups, instead of a draft bill of the Government – allows not only to speed up the approval of the reform but to do it, in addition, without even hearing the criteria of the affected institution. The draft, on the other hand, would have required introducing the mandatory procedure of listening to the opinion of the General Council of the Judiciary, certainly contrary to the reform.
The formation of Casado will continue to attack the modification of the Organic Law of the Judiciary proposed by the partners of the governmental coalition until verifying the sincerity of the signals that the PSOE has been issuing in recent days in the sense that it is willing to reverse .
The Prime Minister himself, after the notice received from the European Commission suspicious of the reform, said he was willing to make “all concessions” to the Popular Party to renew “as soon as possible” the governing body of the judges with the current rules, although he immediately denied himself by stating that this “all” does not include accepting Pablo Casado’s main demand: that Unidos Podemos cannot appoint any member of the new CGPJ.
In addition to requesting that the General Council of the Judiciary report on the reform, the Popular Group will propose at the meeting of the Board of Congress set for this Tuesday that the lawyers of the Courts draw up an opinion on the constitutionality of the proposed law, highly questioned in broad judicial and legal sectors.
At the same time, the PP is going to register in the Lower House a reform of the LOPJ that can help unblock the situation. The initiative renounces the traditional postulate of the ‘popular’ that the judges themselves, without political intervention, are the ones who elect the judicial members of the Council.
Back to 2001
The PP proposal is to return to the formula implemented in 2001, when socialists and populars jointly agreed to maintain the parliamentary appointment, but on the basis of a pre-selection of 36 candidates judicial elected by the Judiciary itself. Parliament would continue to appoint the eight advisers who must be jurists of recognized competence.
This formula was changed by the PP in 2013, but not to return to the judges the direct election of the judicial advisers (despite having had successive majorities, the popular ones have never fulfilled this commitment) but to not limit the number of candidates, of so that any judge or magistrate can attend the election.
This system, which is currently in force, allows Parliament to choose from a larger cast of judicial candidates. The return to the 36 candidates that the PP intends to recover now would constrain the scope of the parliamentary election and, therefore, would put a little more value on the will expressed by the judicial career in the pre-selection of the members.
In the talks held with the PP to renew the current CGPJ -which has been in an extension of its mandate since December 2018-, the government negotiators have not seen with bad eyes the return to the election system agreed in 2001.
We can, the stumbling block
The proposal to be registered by the PP can thus be a catalyst for renewal. The proposed law of the PSOE and United We Can not be withdrawn, but it would be left in a dead end.
That would remain, yes, the stumbling block of the members of United We Can. If Pedro Sánchez said on Friday that he has no intention of leaving his coalition partner on the sidelines, the PP states that “We are not going to back down on the issue of Podemos”.
Sources from Casado’s party add, however, that “there are ways” to get out of the quagmire, such as opting for candidate profiles you can more moderate and far from radicalism.