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Bolaños, one of the fathers of the amnesty law, becomes 'super minister' with Justice in full judicial protest

The management of the amnesty before the courts and the eternal renewal of the CGPJ, among its main challenges.

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Bolaños, one of the fathers of the amnesty law, becomes 'super minister' with Justice in full judicial protest

The management of the amnesty before the courts and the eternal renewal of the CGPJ, among its main challenges


The until now Minister of the Presidency and Relations with the Cortes and one of the fathers of the amnesty law, Félix Bolaños, becomes 'super minister' by also assuming the Justice portfolio in the midst of a judicial protest, a Ministry of which he is not completely unrelated because he has been in charge of the main negotiations that affect this department, such as the last attempt to renew the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) and the consummated partial renewal of the Constitutional Court (TC).

Bolaños, a 47-year-old from Madrid, will hold one of the most important positions in the Executive, to the point that his powers are those of a political vice president due to the accumulation of power and their rank, although he does not formally have that position. .

He came to the Government in June 2018 as Secretary General of the Presidency but it was not until July 2021 when he occupied said Ministry. Until his arrival in Moncloa, he had worked as a lawyer at the Bank of Spain, a professor at the Business Institute (IE Law School) and a lawyer at the Uría Menéndez firm.

As Minister of the Presidency, he has commanded major negotiations with other political forces, many of which are related to the department that Pilar Llop is now leaving, so it could be said that he has been acting as shadow Minister of Justice.

Thus, for example, although Juan Carlos Campo was the Minister of Justice who signed the files for the pardons of the independence leaders condemned by the 'procés', Bolaños was also involved in the task, to the point that he was one of the members of the Government who appeared at the press conference where the pardon was announced.

After Campo's departure, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, appointed Bolaños as the interlocutor of the 'popular' Esteban González Pons to agree on the renewal of the CGPJ and the Constitutional Court.

In October 2022, he was on the verge of achieving the renewal of the governing body of the judges - which at this time has already had an expired mandate for almost five years - but the news of an imminent penal reform to repeal the crime of sedition and modifying the embezzlement bill blew up an agreement that was practically closed.

Months later, in December of that year, the partial renewal of the TC - in the third that corresponded to appointing the Government, with two candidates, and the CGPJ, with two others - went ahead due to the impulse of the progressive bloc of the Council that It led to a shift from the then conservative majority to the current progressive dominance in the court of guarantees.

He was also in the engine room of the aforementioned penal reform, which freed those convicted and prosecuted for the 'procés' from sedition but, after the review carried out by the Supreme Court (TS), kept the first ones sentenced for embezzlement and disobedience and the second ones prosecuted for both crimes or at least the second, thus keeping the case alive.

From the role of Democratic Memory - which will now be led by former Canary Islands president Ángel Víctor Torres in the Ministry of Territorial Policy - he also assumed important powers that in Campo times were managed from the San Bernardo headquarters, such as the litigation around the Pazo of Meiras.

In addition, he has been part of the PSOE negotiating team to carry out the agreements with Junts and ERC that include an amnesty law and that have made a third term for Sánchez possible. In fact, he was in charge of presenting the pardon measure to the press.

The bill, registered on November 13 in the Congress of Deputies by the PSOE, has a parliamentary journey ahead that is predicted to be longer than its promoters anticipated due to the probable amendments and the reform carried out by the PP. on the Senate Regulations to extend the deadlines.

This parliamentary procedure and the management of the amnesty law itself will undoubtedly be Bolaños' main challenges in this new stage as Minister of Justice.

Not only because the law will inevitably go through judges and courts for its application, but because the expected challenges will take the amnesty to the Constitutional Court and the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), with the necessary intervention of the State Attorney's Office.

The renewal of the CGPJ continues on the list of pending tasks, on the verge of breaking the record of spending the same number of years with the current mandate as with the expired mandate for a total of a decade.

Although there was a timid attempt at renewal in the context of the regional and municipal elections on May 28, it faded with the advance of the elections to July 23.

The start of a new legislature provides the opportunity to resume PSOE-PP contacts to agree on a new CGPJ, although the legal sources consulted by Europa Press point out that, if the blockade persists, the renewal could be facilitated through a legal change.

At the time, PSOE and Podemos tried to change the majorities by which the Cortes Generales elect the members of the governing body of judges, although they finally backed down in the face of warnings from Brussels.

Bolaños will also have to deal with the labor conflict with the officials of the administration of justice, which has remained latent since the last general elections but which its promoters have already announced that they will reactivate.

The civil servants went on strike last April with partial strikes and days of complete strikes to demand salary improvements in line with those achieved by the Lawyers of the Administration of Justice (LAJ) after the strike they staged between January and March, with the who achieved a salary increase of up to 450 euros per month.

Following in the wake of the LAJ, judges and prosecutors threatened to also go on strike but it was not necessary because in May all the associations, except the Professional Association of the Judiciary (APM), signed an agreement with Justice and the Treasury to obtain, among other things, the same salary increase as the LAJ.

In this context, the officials agreed that same May to a total strike, although they never sat down at the negotiating table with Justice, opting to suspend the measure of force due to electoral uncertainty.

Added to all this is the challenge of deploying the 'efficiency triad' - the laws of digital, procedural and organizational efficiency in the Public Justice Service - a project launched by Campo and continued by Llop that Bolaños will have. to finish with the consequent transformation of the administration of justice to bring it closer to the citizen.