A list of judges from 6 years ago conditions the negotiation of the Council of the Judicial Power that Bolaños and Pons resume

The Minister of the Presidency, Justice and Relations with the Cortes, Félix Bolaños, and the PP deputy Esteban González Pons negotiations resume this Monday in Brussels, under the leadership of the EU, of what many consider the definitive asset to renew the General Council of the Judiciary. The result of the conversations, until now very discreet, is, however, conditioned by a list of candidates for the twelve judicial extraction positions what was made almost six years ago and whose validity is questioned from many legal sectors.

Despite the age of the list, the General Council of the Judiciary he is tied hand and foot to present other candidates if a question is not addressed first. legislative modification that justifies it, sources from the governing body of the judges tell this newspaper.

In fact, at certain moments in which the negotiation has been close to fruition, from the parties that participated in the talks The possibility of modifying the initial list has been consulted with members of the Council, like the one who was its presidentCarlos Lesmesor the member proposed by the PSOE Alvaro Cuesta. Both ruled out the possibility that the body could resubmit a proposal without legal protection. “The Council did its homework in 2018. It cannot do it twice,” these sources point out.

However, the Council itself is very aware that since then and until now the conditions of the candidates can be very different. And this situation extends to the entire judicial career, in such a way that people who at that time did not want to run, now, however, could be interested in doing so; there is new judges, from the latest promotions, who have not been given that opportunity and it is even possible that magistrates who in the fall of 2018 gathered a sufficient number of endorsements to attend independently or who were supported by certain associations are now not.

Resignations and reenlistment attempts

The list, on the other hand, may also include deceased or retired people among those proposed, while other candidates are no longer interested in being part of the CGPJ because Your professional or personal expectations have changed. This is the case of the Supreme Court magistrate José María del Riego, who expressly resigned even though he sounded like one of the safe names from the progressive sector to integrate the new body.

Also doing so, in the list provided by Judges for Democracy, was the Canarian judge who was later appointed Government delegate for Gender Violence. Victoria Rosell, although a few weeks ago he informed the Council that wants to reactivate his candidacy since he has returned to active service as a judge after leaving politics. The Senate Board became aware of the matter on the 18th and has sent it to the parliamentary groups to decide, although the answer is controversial because there is no background.

Freedom for jurists

The same does not happen with the vowels that are chosen between jurists of recognized prestige, because, unlike the members of judicial extraction, They can be proposed with complete freedom by the parties. Hence, those who are elected now do not have to be those who were going to be elected in 2018. In fact, someone in their circle of trust has commented that they had not been called this time.

It was in August 2018 when the then president of the Council, Carlos Lesmes, launched the renewal procedure by informing the presidents of the Congress and the Senate of the upcoming end of the mandate, which expired on December 4 of that year. It was at that time when, in compliance with the election system currently in force, the judicial associations were entrusted with the nomination of candidates, who were joined by others. independents who have had a certain number of endorsements by his colleagues.

As a result of all this, on September 27 of that year Lesmes sent to Congress and the Senate the list of a total of 50 pre-candidates for the twelve judicial positions of the Council -The other 8 are chosen by Parliament from among jurists of recognized prestige-. Among them the judge who forced a change in the Mortgage Law by taking this matter to the CJEU, José María Fernández Seijo, the judge of the National Court and former councilor of the PP Maria Tardon or the judge of the National Court Fernando Andreu.

The doubts about legitimacy of the members that come out of this list was already noted in December 2020. Judges, university professors and jurists integrated into the Civic Platform for Judicial Independence They denounced that the current renewal process of the CGPJ “is suffering from radical nullity” and It violates the fundamental rights of the judges who have emerged from the latest promotions. They also warned that if political parties persisted in maintaining irremediably flawed procedures, they would expose themselves to a future declaration of unconstitutionality.

The resolution of all these doubts, in any case, does not correspond to the Council that proposed the names but to the Congress of Deputies and the Senate, which are the ones that could annul the list and request a new one, something that seems highly unlikely. The Organic Law of the Judiciary would need to be reformed and the process would further delay the renewal that now seems so close.

Another point to take into account is that some of the candidates presented themselves with the premise of being part of a Council like the current one, where only some of its members have exclusive dedication. However, the next governing body of the judges will have its 20 members dedicated exclusively to this work after the legal reform of October 2018, that is, also after the list was presented to the Cortes.

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