17th June 2024
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Sánchez and Feijóo agree to involve EU as mediator in judicial stalemate

Spanish socialist (PSOE) Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and Alberto Núñez Feijóo, the leader of the right-wing opposition People’s Party (PP), agreed on Friday to ask the European Commission to mediate in order to end a years-long stalemate over appointments to the body that names judges in the country.

The governing body of Spain’s judges and courts, the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), is meant to be renewed every five years. But the current group has been exercising its functions on an interim basis since 2018 because the PP and PSOE can’t agree on its makeup.

Both parties have blamed each other for the delay , which is precluding the appointment of new judges to higher courts and has led to numerous vacancies due to the retirement of judges have not been filled.

‘We have agreed on a formula for the European Commission to mediate,’ government spokeswoman Pilar Alegria told a press conference following a meeting between Sánchez and Feijóo.

‘It is good news that we can recover the institutional normality’ of the judicial body, she added.

The European Commission has in recent years repeatedly expressed concerns over Spain’s failure to resolve the stalemate.

Feijóo told a separate news conference that Sánchez had agreed to let the European Commission ‘supervise’ the negotiations over the renewal of the body. It was the first meeting (main picture) between the Prime Minister and Feijóo since Sánchez was re-appointed to another term by parliament in November with the backing of a string of smaller left-wing and regional parties.

The PP won the most seats in the July election but fell short of a majority and Feijóo was unable to get backing from other parties to win his investiture vote in September.

Made up of 20 members, the CGPJ plays a supervisory role and appoints some magistrates to the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court and other top courts.

The appointment of 12 of the 20 members is subject to a qualified majority of three-fifths in both Spain’s lower and upper houses of parliament.

 

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