The veto of the PP that the judge José Ricardo de Prada enters as a member of the new General Council of the Judicial Power (CGPJ) has been, as confirmed by popular and socialists, the trigger for the rupture of the agreement to renew the body, whose mandate It expired in December 2018.
The judge who, together with another magistrate, accepted Mariano Rajoy’s statement requesting the popular prosecution as a witness in Gürtel’s first trial became the main stumbling block in the negotiation, but it has not been the only name that it has strained conversations to failure.
The PP also vetoed Judge Victoria Rosell , former deputy of Podemos and current government delegate for Gender Violence; while the party of Pablo Iglesias objected to his partner to accept another judge, the conservative Alejandro Abascal , proposed by the popular. These three names already appeared in the candidacy of the Council agreed by the PSOE and the PP in 2018, where, even reluctantly, the parties admitted without vetoes the proposals of the other party.
Sources close to the negotiation argue that, two years ago, popular and socialists sealed the pact with the distribution of members (11 for the progressives and nine for the conservatives) and the election of the president (the magistrate Manuel Marchena), without delving into the names proposed by the other in his quota.
But on this occasion, the distrust generated in the PP by the presence of Podemos in the Government and its insistence that it stay out of the pact, has led to crossing the lists of names with time and has opened a debate that has not been been able to get out.
José Ricardo de Prada . The popular ones have resisted in recent months to accept as a member any candidate that they consider related to Unidos Podemos, but, if in the course of the negotiation they could end up admitting that Pablo Iglesias’ party introduced a proposal through its partners of Government, the veto to De Prada was inalienable.
For the popular, the judge who signed, together with another conservative magistrate, the convictions of the Gürtel case , is a red line. And that despite the fact that in 2018, when just five months had passed after the sentence that killed Rajoy’s political career, the PP agreed to include De Prada in the candidacy for the Council that it registered jointly with the PSOE.
Until now, they had mainly justified their rejection in that he was a candidate close to Podemos. But yesterday, the popular ones focused their criticism of De Prada on another reason: that, being a judge, he wanted to access the Council by the turn of jurists, which for the popular supposes “a fraud of law”, despite the fact that, in 2018 , already with Pablo Casado at the helm, the PP included in its candidacy for the turn of jurists another judge, Manuel Altava, then a PP senator.
The party alleges that the refusal to allow judges to access the Council for the turn of jurists is a new condition for this negotiation.
De Prada participated in that quota in 2018 because at that time he was not an active judge in Spain (a requirement to be a candidate for the Council due to the judicial quota) but was in a special service situation as a United Nations judge in The Hague. “I would have preferred to access the CGPJ for the judicial turn, but for administrative reasons I have not been able to do so,” he regretted when he appeared in Congress in November 2018 as a candidate for the governing body of the judges.
In that parliamentary session, the PP ironically congratulated itself on the step taken by the Gürtel judge: “It is good for the Spanish justice that you stop doing what you were doing, that you stop passing sentences and go to an administrative body”, said deputy Carlos Rojas.
The popular ones already questioned the independence of De Prada, which led the judicial associations to issue a statement in “defense of judicial independence” and asked the Council to protect the judge, who has been assigned to the National Court for 30 years and that he has been an international judge in the War Crimes Chamber of the Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Victoria Rosell. The current delegate of the Government for Gender Violence, former deputy of Podemos and judge, is another of the candidates that have caused the pact to run aground. Rosell is part of the list of 51 candidate judges to the Council that the president of the body, Carlos Lesmes, sent to the Cortes in September 2018, when he launched the procedures for the renewal.
The former deputy was endorsed by the Association of Judges and Judges for Democracy and, although the pact was blown up before the PSOE and PP formally presented their candidacy, both parties admit that Rosell was one of the 12 judges then elected to be a vocal.
Rosell no longer meets the essential condition to stand as a member of the Council for the judicial quota (being an active judge) because she is the Government delegate against Gender Violence, although the sources consulted indicate that she could do so if she resigns from office and requests the back to the race. The PP argues its veto in that this move from the Executive to the Council is incompatible with its objective of ending the “revolving doors” between politics and justice.
Alejandro Abascal. Although the negotiators point out that it has not been a veto as such, the presence of this reinforcement judge of the National High Court in the PP’s candidacy caused reluctance in Podemos, which tried to convince the socialists that it should not be part of the pact.
Abascal, who was a candidate for the Council endorsed by the conservative Professional Association of the Magistracy, is currently a reinforcement judge of the court investigating the Dina case, which involves Pablo Iglesias, which has made him a target of the Podemos attacks