The Government contemplates the possibility of appointing two magistrates of the Constitutional Court in the next renewal of this court, scheduled for this month of June, without waiting for the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) to be renewed. The governing body of the judges is responsible for appointing two other magistrates at the same time as the Executive, but it cannot do so, since the law prevents it when they are in office. The Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, assured this Wednesday that the Executive has legal powers to carry out the two appointments. And this even though the PP maintains the blockade of the Judicial Power, which has been working on an interim basis since December 2018.
The current Constitutionalist’s mandate theoretically ends on June 12, but in fact he is already organizing his agenda until at least the August parenthesis, in case the renewal does not take place on the legally scheduled date. Nevertheless, Bolaños’ demonstrations in Onda Cero They open new expectations that at least a partial replacement of the four magistrates who should change throughout this month could be carried out.
The sentence of greater importance that the court of guarantees continues to have pending is the one related to the appeal presented by the PP in 2010 against the current abortion law. The deliberation would have already begun had it not been for the early call for the Andalusian elections on June 19. The court has decided to let the electoral appointment pass, counting on addressing the matter at the end of this month.
The renewal of the Constitutional Court could lead to changes in the court’s plans. The Constitution establishes that the mandate of the magistrates is nine years and that the guarantee body will be renewed every three years by thirds. Now, therefore, four magistrates must change, the two appointed by the Government of Mariano Rajoy and the two appointed by the Council of the Judiciary in 2013. In the first case, the current president, Pedro González-Trevijano, and the magistrate Antonio Narváez, and in the second case of the vice president, Juan Antonio Xiol, and magistrate Santiago Martínez Vares.
In turn, the governing body of the judges, whose mandate expired almost four years ago, remains blocked from making appointments while it remains in office. The legal doubt is whether the Government could make the two appointments that correspond to it without waiting for the Judiciary to be unblocked, given that the Constitution itself contains the aforementioned provision that the renewals of this institution will be carried out by thirds.
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In this sense, the manifestations of Bolaños in which he has exposed the autonomy of the Executive to do its part in the renewal of the court entail a clear message to the PP in the sense that he understands that there are no legal impediments to decide without delay at least two of the relays, and that, therefore, consider acting without delay. The unknown, in this case, is how not only the PP would react, but also the current conservative majority of the Constitutional.
On the occasion of each renewal, the court must hold a plenary session in which it gives the green light to the arrival of its new members, once it has been verified that they meet the legal requirements to access the position. In principle, this examination focuses on verifying their professional status, their years of experience in the exercise of their respective legal professions. Now, there has been no lack of voices to speculate about a possible brake of the Constitution itself to its partial renewal.
Bolaños’ statements are clearly opposed to this thesis, while containing a new summons to the PP so that it allows unblocking the renewal of important institutions in the legal field, such as both the Council of the Judicial Power and the Constitutional Council itself. In this sense, the Minister of the Presidency pointed out: “It is very serious that the main opposition party does not openly comply with the law”, to add immediately that if the popular assume the mandates of the Constitution, “the four magistrates will be renewed of the Constitutional Court as soon as there is a term”.
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