The president of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), Rafael Mozo, in the center of the image, chairs a plenary session last December. CGPJ (EFE)
The internal gap that had left in the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) the plenary session to analyze the salary increase of the judges has extended this Thursday to the conservative bloc. The group of members proposed by the PP in 2013 to form part of the body has been broken in two when voting on what response to give to the pact signed by the Executive and six judicial associations to increase salaries between 440 and 450 euros per month. The CGPJ’s assessment was not necessary because the agreement has already been signed and neither the Government nor the associations have asked the judges’ governing body for their opinion, but a group of members has insisted on giving an answer and from the conservative sector they have raised two options. None has obtained the necessary votes to get ahead because the members of that group have voted divided. During the session, members of the body point out, several councilors have reproached the alternate president, Rafael Mozo, for his management of this plenary session and, at least two councilors have suggested that he resign. Mozo has rejected it, supported by several progressive members, who have come out in his defense.
The CGPJ, whose mandate expired in December 2018 and could not be renewed due to the PP’s refusal to reach an agreement with the PSOE, is the protagonist of one of the most serious institutional crises that the country has experienced in recent times. ; For almost four years, the members have tried to remain impassive in the face of the anomalous situation, insisting that they were doing their job like the first day. But the resignation last October of the president, Carlos Lesmes, has left the CGPJ adrift. Mozo, chosen as a substitute for Lesmes for being the oldest member, has not been able to take over the helm of the Council and the organ is slowly bleeding to death between internal quarrels, resignations or retirements of members and brawls that stain more, if possible, the image of a Council whose legitimacy has already been questioned even by the Supreme Court.
Tension in the CGPJ
This Thursday’s plenary session was preceded by a strong internal discussion after Mozo did not summon the members to an extraordinary session last Monday to analyze the salary agreement before the Government and the judges signed it, as five councilors had requested. . Several vocals criticized Mozo in an internal chat and accused him of being “hidden” and not wanting to show his face. The anger has moved to this Thursday’s session, say members of the body. The toughest have been the members Enrique Lucas (proposed by the PNV and attached to the progressive sector) and José María Macías (proposed by the PP), who have accused him of breaking the law by not calling the plenary session for Monday and have arrived to ask for his resignation, say the sources. Mozo has defended himself alone and has ended up decreeing a recess to try to get the conservatives to elaborate their proposals and calm the waters. After it, almost the entire progressive group has come out in defense of the president (member of this sector) and the discussion has been settled, although the tension has already flown over the rest of the debate, according to several members.
The discussion has then focused on how to respond to the salary agreement. The agenda of the plenary session did not provide for the body to pronounce, but only for the three members who have attended the negotiations between the Government and the judges -the conservatives Juan Martínez Moya, Gerardo Martínez Tristán and José Antonio Ballestero- to give an account of the covenant. But Martínez Tristán have presented a proposal to request the annulment of the remuneration agreement because the CGPJ was not invited to the heading.
The law on remuneration of judicial and prosecutorial careers establishes that both the CGPJ and the Attorney General’s Office are part of the table in which the salaries of both bodies must be reviewed. But their role, sources from the conservative group admit, is more of “observers” and the leading role is left to the associations and the ministries of Justice and Finance. However, the text presented by Martínez Tristán stated that to the extent that the CGPJ was not summoned to the act of signing the pact, that act “did not comply with the provisions of the law, which constitutes an essential vice.” For this reason, the member asked that the agreement not be endorsed. His proposal has only achieved the support of four members of his group (Macías, Ballestero, Carmen Llombart and Ángeles Carmona), while four other conservatives -Juan Martínez Moya, Juan Manuel Fernández, Nuria Díaz and Vicente Guilarte- have voted against and a fifth -Wenceslao Olea- on the bench. The progressive block has unanimously rejected the proposal, except for Lucas, who has voted blank.
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Guilarte presented a different proposal for the CGPJ not to consider the agreement null and void, but to formally complain about not having been summoned to sign (“Having intervened the CGPJ in the meetings of the Remuneration Table, we understand that it should have been convened for the endorsement of the agreement”, indicated the text). He has obtained eight votes —the conservatives Carmona, Macías, Martínez Tristán, Ballestero, Llombart, Olea and Guilarte; and the progressive Lucas—and seven against—the conservatives Díaz, Martínez Moya and Fernández; and the progressives Mozo, Clara Martínez de Careaga, Pilar Sepúlveda and Álvaro Cuesta. The also progressive Roser Bach and Mar Cabrejas have voted blank.
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