Conservatives and progressives assure that there is a will to agree but they differ "as for the times"
The interlocutors of the conservative and progressive sectors of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) have held their second meeting this Wednesday to continue with the negotiations to appoint the two magistrates of the Constitutional Court (TC) that correspond to them, a meeting that has ended without an agreement and without a date for a third party, which in any case would take place after the visit of the EU Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, to Spain next week.
The members José Antonio Ballestero and Carmen Llombart --on the conservative side-- and Álvaro Cuesta, Rafael Mozo and Roser Bach --on the progressive side-- have been meeting for more than two hours as part of this second meeting, which they were already attending with a first agreement by which they decided that the two candidates for the TC would come from the magistrates of the Supreme Court (TS).
The progressive representatives, as promised, have put nine candidates on the table, including Pablo Lucas, the judge in charge of controlling the actions of the CNI; María Luisa Segoviano, the first woman to preside over a Chamber (the Social Chamber) of the high court; and his military counterpart, Jacobo López Barja de Quiroga.
Completing the list are the magistrates of the Contentious-Administrative Chamber José Manuel Bandrés, Eduardo Espín, Isabel Perelló and Ángeles Huet, as well as the retired magistrate Rafael Fernández Valverde --who was part of that same chamber and of the current CGPJ-- and the magistrate of the Social Chamber Rosa María Viroles.
However, the conservative spokesmen have returned to attend without their own list because they assure that they have not received any candidacy from any Supreme Court magistrate, "beyond a mere brief, informal and initial contact maintained by a single person with a member on an individual basis ", according to the statement released by Ballestero and Llombart.
Thus, both currents have confirmed "the strongest commitment to comply with the Council's own powers" to make such appointments, as well as their agreement "on the need to achieve large majorities" to appoint them.
However, the progressive sector has shown that there is "a difference in terms of time." "For our part, we have reiterated our desire to reach said agreement in the shortest possible time and always before the plenary session convened for September 29," they stated.
However, they have regretted that, "once again", the conservative counterpart has told them that "as of today they are not in a position to present candidates and that they do not consider that the appointment should take place in the plenary session on the 29th", for so it has not been possible to set a date for a new meeting before that day.
"The signatories of this note have put on record that we are not responsible for the delay that is taking place in the appointment of the magistrates for the Constitutional Court", Cuesta, Mozo and Bach have underlined.
The conservative negotiators, for their part, have defended that "the relevance of these appointments requires that the principle of efficiency and not that of urgency prevail." In any case, they have agreed to hold an internal conclave on the 28th.
THE REYNDERS VISIT
However, the negotiations between the two currents of the CGPJ to occupy two of the four places at stake in the TC will be postponed to the visit that Reynders plans to make to Spain between September 29 and 30.
The sources of the governing body of the judges consulted by Europa Press indicate that the conservative sector trusts that Reynders will manage to unblock the negotiations around the Judicial Power.
Reynders said on Tuesday in statements to the press that during his stay in Spain he could not limit himself only to asking for dialogue between the political forces so that they agree on the renewal of the CGPJ but to get directly involved.
The aforementioned sources point out that a global agreement - which encompasses both the General Council of the Judiciary and the Constitutional Court - could be the magic formula to end the blockade in both institutions.
In fact, one of the concerns of the conservative current is the situation of collapse in which the TS would be left if the two magistrates chosen for the Constitutional Court leave the Supreme Court while the CGPJ continues to be unable to fill the vacancies generated in the judicial leadership.
Several rooms of the TS are already in a limit situation due to the legal reform promoted by the Government that since March 2021 prohibits an acting CGPJ – like the current one – from making discretionary appointments in the high courts.
OUT OF TIME
The Executive promoted a second reform, approved last July, to return to the Council its capacity to make appointments but only to elect its two candidates for the Constitutional Court and to do so before September 13, a date passed that in reality from a good part of the CGPJ He always saw it as a guide.
The underlying problem is that on June 12 the mandate of the president of the TC, Pedro González-Trevijano, of the vice president Juan Antonio Xiol and of Antonio Narváez and Santiago Martínez-Vares, the four magistrates who make up the third that the Constitution commissions to renew, expired. a Government and CGPJ, with two each.
Initially, the Government slipped the possibility of making their appointments without waiting for the CGPJ, although the legal sources asked by Europa Press cast doubts on the legal possibility that the two Executive candidates can take office without the Council duo.
The Minister of Justice, Pilar Llop, assured last week that Moncloa, "logically", will wait for the CGPJ to have its two candidates to undertake the partial renewal of the TC, although she refused to specify how long she is willing to wait.