A majority of members of the General Council of the Judiciary has approved this Thursday a manifesto in which it shows its rejection of the express legal reform with which the Government partner parties, PSOE and Podemos, plan to limit the functions of the governing body of the judges when their mandate expires. The writing has gone ahead with the vote in favor of 16 of the 21 members of the plenary session, the same ones who in December signed a declaration in which they demanded that the Judiciary be heard by Congress before approving the legal reform. The Bureau of Congress rejected this request, which precipitated the convocation of the extraordinary plenary session that was held this Thursday. The approved document considers that the Congress decision “does not respect the requirements of the principle of separation of powers.”
Among the 16 members who have supported the text is the entire conservative bloc (11 members plus the president, Carlos Lesmes, all proposed in their day by the PP) and four progressives (Roser Bach, Mar Cabrejas, Enrique Lucas and Victoria Cinto ). The 16 were in favor of asking the Board of Congress to reconsider its decision and listen to the governing body of the judges before approving the legal reform. But there were three different positions, according to the sources consulted in the plenary: some, mostly progressive members, preferred to limit themselves to asking to be heard; Others, mainly conservative members, wanted the Council to draft and forward to Parliament that report on the reform that the Bureau refused to demand; and another group of members of both blocks was in favor of an intermediate formula. This is the position that finally prevailed and that permeates the approved document, in which the Council does not reel off the text of the legal reform, but the reasons that, in its opinion, should have led Congress to ask for a report.
The 16 members have held conversations throughout the week to agree on a common response. Some tried to include a direct reference to the possibility of denouncing the attitude of government partners in Europe, but it was finally discarded. The members of the most belligerent plenary session against the Executive hope that the reform ends up being denounced also before European organisms on the part of some judicial association or political party. “The Council has to have some institutional containment. But the document that we have approved can serve to support the claims of others in Europe, ”says a conservative member.
Sources present at the meeting explained that the members Nuria Díaz and Carmen Llombart came to announce a concurrent vote to broaden their position against the legal reform. The announcement unleashed complaints from some of the progressives who had voted for the majority text, which led Lesmes to ask the conservative members to reconsider their position, and they, according to the sources, agreed.
The progressives Álvaro Cuesta, Clara Martínez de Careaga, Rafael Mozo, Concepción Sáez and Pilar Sepúlveda voted against the document and announced a dissenting private vote. “It is a shame. Politics is being made to the PP in its strategy of wearing down the Government and internationalizing the conflict as Puigdemont has done. It is a tremendous disloyalty, “laments a member of this group.
The members who sign the majority document consider that the path chosen to restrict the powers of the acting Council “is not the appropriate path or the one that is most respectful of the requirements of the principle of separation of powers.” The refusal, “without offering any reason”, by the Board of Congress to allow the CGPJ to pronounce it “particularly worries” the plenary session, they point out. “And not, precisely, because they understand that the relationship between constitutional bodies requires a minimal explanation of the refusal to agree to what is requested,” they warn, but because the parliamentary debate and the public will be deprived of “knowledge and assessment of qualified opinion and legally founded ”of an institution created to“ guarantee judicial independence ”.