18th September 2020
Attorney General
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Amid controversy, Dolores Delgado set to become Attorney General

The Spanish General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), a constitutional council that oversees the Spanish judiciary, has backed the nomination of the former socialist (PSOE) justice minister, Dolores Delgado, 57, as the country’s new Attorney General, and to succeed María José Segarra.

The CGPJ only voted 12 in favour and 7 against Delgado’s appointment, however, after newly elected Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez put his former minister forward for the post at his first coalition cabinet meeting.

Two of the three previous nominations for the post of Attorney General have received the unanimous backing of the CGPJ’s board, with the other getting only one vote against.

ALSO READ: Spain’s Justice Minister facing calls to resign

Now approved by the CGPJ, the appointment of Delgado as the Attorney General will have to appear before the Justice Committee of the Spanish Congress before it then goes to King Felipe VI for ratification. The candidate must be a ‘Spanish jurist of recognised prestige with more than 15 years of effective exercise of his/her profession’.

Attorney General
Forner Spanish Minister of Justice Dolores Delgado (left) and Spanish Attorney General, Maria Jose Segarra, attend the formal opening of the legal year at the Supreme Court in Madrid, on 10 September 2018. (Angel Díaz / Pool / AFP)

Delgado initially joined the PSOE government in June 2018 after Sánchez pushed out his right-wing People’s Party (PP) predecessor Mariano Rajoy in a no-confidence vote.

Delgado’s nomination as Attorney General has proved to be controversial, with questions raised over the impartiality of the former minister’s potential appointment and criticisms that it contravenes the principle of separation of powers.

ALSO READ: Minister walks off in protest during Holocaust memorial

Whilst Delgado was justice minister, the Solicitor General’s Office, which represents the state in the courts and answers to the Justice Ministry, clashed with the prosecutors involved in the Supreme Court Catalan Trial. While the public prosecutors – under María José Segarra – charged the defendants with rebellion, the Solicitor General brought lesser charges of sedition.

The right-wing People’s Party (PP) has said the fact that the CGPJ did not describe Delgado as ‘ideal’ for the post, as it usually does, but limited itself to saying she ‘fulfills the formal requisites’, is a sign of the doubts it has over her appointment.

Delgado’s time at the Justice Ministry also coincided with the exhumation of Franco from the Valley of the Fallen. Delgado was present at the event and acted as a notary for the state to certify the transfer of the late dictator’s remains.

ALSO READ: The new Spanish coalition cabinet gets to work

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