The substitute president of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), Rafael Mozo, has rejected on Tuesday the request made by a group of conservative members to convene a plenary session as soon as possible to elect the two Constitutional Court magistrates who must be appointed to the Council .
Mozo has addressed a letter to all the members of the body in which he argues that the request cannot be addressed because it fails to meet the requirements of the Council regulations to convene an extraordinary plenary session at the request of the members.
Mozo's decision frustrates, for now, the plan of the conservative advisers,
Article 35 of the CGPJ regulations obliges the president to convene an extraordinary plenary session when five or more members request it in writing.
Relying on this precept, nine of the councilors proposed by the PP asked Mozo on Friday to convene a session to vote on the appointment of the two Constitutional magistrates.
According to that article of the regulation, the president will convene the plenary session "within three days following the presentation of the request", which, in principle, forced Mozo to convene the session before this Wednesday.
Given the reluctance of the president, the conservative members threatened on Tuesday to sue him if he did not already set the meeting, but Mozo has chosen to keep the pulse.
The substitute president alleges formal reasons that prevent him from attending to the request of the conservatives.
According to the letter that he has sent to the members, the same article of the regulation that imposes the call of the plenary session when requested by five members requires "the contribution of all the documents, if any, related to the agenda of the plenary session", something which has not been done in this case.
In addition, the request of the conservatives deviates, according to the president, from the rules of procedure 3 and 5 approved by the plenary session of the body on September 8.
These norms, agreed by both blocks at the beginning of the negotiation to renew the Constitution, establish that the plenary session will be called when the president agrees on his own initiative or when requested by at least five members, as has happened in this case,
but they add a requirement that the conservatives have eluded: "The request to call the plenary session will include the names of two candidates."
Likewise, they force the proposals to be accompanied by the curriculum of the applicants, a condition that also obviates the request.
Those two formal requirements that Mozo misses hit the Achilles heel of the conservatives, who throughout the negotiation have refused to put the name of their candidate on the table to renew the guarantee court.
The first weeks they claimed that they could not find similar Supreme Court magistrates interested in making the leap to the Constitutional Court;
finally, they have admitted that they have up to six applicants, but in no meeting with the other group have they formalized a candidacy.
After learning of Mozo's decision to reject his request to call a plenary session, conservative sources have indicated that the problem alleged by the president will be corrected, which implies finally making his candidates public.
Mozo's rejection comes after this morning he held talks with councilors from the majority sector, who insisted on their demand that he call an extraordinary meeting.
Sources from the body point out that the alternate president assured that he was going to do it, but that several members had scheduling problems and was trying to find a date on which they could all.
Until now, the three-day period given by the regulations to "convene" the meeting had been interpreted as meaning that the plenary session would be held within those three days, but the members of both groups understood that, ultimately, it could be interpreted as the president, in those three days, made the call, although the date set fell outside that period, which had led to sounding out the dates of next Friday the 16th or Monday the 19th.
The intention of the conservatives is to anticipate December 22, when the ordinary plenary session of the CGPJ was set, in which the appointment of the Constitutional magistrates was going to be debated.
But that date may coincide with the approval in the Senate of the legal reform that eliminates the obligation of three fifths for the CGPJ to elect the two members of the Constitutional Court and establishes a new system by which the two magistrates will be appointed Get more votes.
In this way, the candidate of the conservative members and also the candidate of the progressive members would be elected.
And this is what the advisers proposed by the PP want to avoid, who intend to stop the election of the progressive candidate, the magistrate of the Third Chamber of the Supreme Court José Manuel Bandrés.
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