The plenary session of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) meets again this Tuesday at the request of the conservative members to vote on the candidacies to renew the Constitutional Court.
There is no prior agreement that makes it likely that no candidate will obtain the 11 necessary votes, because the members proposed by the PP continue to veto
to the progressive candidate, José Manuel Bandrés, and they want at all costs to impose a different name as a candidate for that bloc: this time, to the former president of the Fourth Chamber of the Supreme Court, María Luisa Segoviano, who retired two months ago.
The conservatives aspire for a member of the other sector to give them their vote and their eyes are on Enrique Lucas, proposed by the PNV and who abstained in the previous vote because his brother, Pablo Lucas, was one of the candidates.
He did not support the candidacy of Bandrés for the progressive sector in his day and the conservatives now aspire to support Segoviano.
The intervention of the Government to settle through a legal reform the blockade to the renewal of the Constitutional by the CGPJ has aggravated the division between blocks of the governing body of judges.
After three months of failed negotiations, the possibility of the Executive registering a bill to carry out its proposal —which would allow the candidate with the most votes from each group to be designated without the need for the other sector to support him— has altered the strategy, especially from the conservatives, who from betting on delaying the appointments and not proposing any candidate have gone on to seek that this be carried out when before proposing three different magistrates for the position.
What has not changed is the priority of the councilors proposed by the PP: stop the appointment of Bandrés,
The conservatives tried last week to divide the progressive bloc by presenting as candidates the conservative César Tolosa and Pablo Lucas, Bandrés' partner in the Third Chamber of the Supreme Court and for whom some members of the progressive group were betting for the Constitutional.
But this sector, which after an internal vote had opted for Bandrés by six votes to one, en bloc respected that decision in the last plenary session, which frustrated the fracture sought by the conservatives, who have 10 votes and only need one to reach the necessary 11 (three-fifths of the 18 members remaining in a plenary session that has had its mandate expired for four years).
The councilors proposed by the PP are trying again now by putting the name of Segoviano on the table.
This time, in principle, there will be eight votes from the progressive sector at stake because the member Lucas, unless his brother is proposed at the last moment by a counselor, no longer has to abstain, as interpreted by the majority of members of the body consulted.
And the vote of this counselor, who was elected nine years ago at the proposal of the PNV, is what the conservatives are looking for, according to several members.
Lucas has not signed the candidacy of Bandrés that the six members proposed by the PSOE and the member proposed by IU have registered for today's plenary session, which has generated suspicions among members of the plenary session.
"We have not negotiated with him, but if he wants to support us, delighted," says a conservative member.
The counselor proposed by the PNV has normally voted with the progressives, but has always remained a bit on the margins of the group's strategy.
“The progressive group is seven plus Lucas.
He has normally voted with us, but not always.
He is not part of the unflinchingly progressive crowd,” notes one adviser.
The progressive members who have led the negotiation more directly to try to unblock the renewal of the Constitutional downplay, however, the fact that their name is not among the signatories.
“We have not offered him to sign our candidacy out of respect.
In order not to put him in the commitment of having to sign it once his brother's seems frustrated," says a member, who also warns that Pablo Lucas's candidacy has not yet been ruled out because until the plenary session begins, they can be presented candidates.
"Nothing prevents a conservative member of those who voted for Lucas in the previous plenary session from putting his name back on the table," says this counselor.
In that case, Lucas would have to abstain again.
But if his brother, as expected by the majority, is not a candidate this time, several members believe that the abstention debate could also be raised again in plenary session.
"When at the beginning of the negotiation we debated the voting rules, some members pointed out that if his brother was finally a candidate, he would have to withdraw from the whole process," recalls a counselor.
If Lucas decided to vote now with the Conservatives, it would favor the election of the two candidates proposed by this group (Tolosa and Segoviano), which would imply the immediate renewal of the guarantee court and would foreseeably cause the legal reform promoted by the Government to decline and which has caused the first precautionary suspension of a legislative process in the Constitutional Court.
If the appointments in the CGPJ are approved, it would be the first time in its history that it would be done without a consensus between blocks and with the two candidates proposed by the same sector.
Several members agree that the decision of the conservatives to abandon Lucas's candidacy and change it to Sevillano's has not gone down well with the member proposed by the PNV, which may also have unforeseeable consequences.
But his anger, in any case, would be with the conservatives, which makes members of both groups doubt that he will opt to support them in the decisive vote.
Neither has he liked this change of candidate in the progressive group, which accuses his fellow conservatives in the plenary session of acting "frivolously" and of using the name of magistrates and then discarding them.
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