The Attorney General of the State, Álvaro García Ortiz, on January 12, in Mérida.Jero Morales (EFE)
The conservative Association of Prosecutors (AF), majority in the race, has called on Wednesday for the resignation of Álvaro García Ortiz, attorney general of the State, after a week of intense confrontation. The group accuses the head of the Public Ministry of disseminating "manipulated information" through "institutional channels" to "discredit" Consuelo Madrigal, a member of that association and former attorney general at the proposal of a PP government. This request comes as the AF, in continuous clash with García Ortiz, accuses him of "maneuvering" in a "crude" way to appoint his predecessor, Dolores Delgado, as prosecutor of the Democratic Memory room.
"The deterioration of the institutional image of the Public Prosecutor's Office has reached one of its highest limits, if it were still possible," the Association of Prosecutors said in a statement released on Wednesday. That note adds: "[All this], with the use of the FGE's own media (Infofiscalía, [an internal bulletin for dissemination among members of the career]) to answer a particular question, in a kind of personal settling of accounts, lacking the minimum rigor of who is supposed to be a jurist of recognized prestige." García Ortiz and Delgado belong to the Progressive Union of Prosecutors (UPF), and were appointed by PSOE executives.
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This new clash arises as a result of García Ortiz advancing to June 8 the Fiscal Council – scheduled for the 19th – where the candidacies presented for the position to which Delgado aspires will be analyzed. The appointment is made by the attorney general, although the members of that body can have an opinion (they even vote, although the result is not binding). However, the members of the AF defend that this appointment should be suspended before the call for elections, announced by President Pedro Sánchez last week: "None of the previous attorneys general, once Parliament was dissolved, has made appointments of discretionary positions, and those that were pending were deferred," they said in a letter.
However, the current leadership of the Attorney General's Office maintains that "there are no reasons that justify the suspension" of the Fiscal Council, and that the process must continue to fill the vacancies that are vacant and that went out to contest before the call for elections. Moreover, in the Infofiscalía bulletin of May 31, the department headed by García Ortiz responded that this position "does not constitute a novel decision, but maintains the historical criterion" of the FGE; in addition to ensuring that precedents existed. He gave as an example that Consuelo Madrigal, a member of the AF and attorney general with a PP government, proposed Olayo Eduardo González as prosecutor of the emeritus chamber in the Supreme Court – who was appointed on May 27, 2016 – "after the general elections held on December 20, 2015, a failed investiture and [the call] of new general elections held on June 26, 2016."
This reference generated enormous unease in the Association of Prosecutors. Madrigal sent a letter to the Attorney General's Office, to which EL PAÍS had access, where he states that González's appointment was not "discretionary" (nor a "promotion"), but responded to a "quasi-automatic procedure" for reasons of age; Therefore, it requested that it be "rectified" publicly by the "same means" and with the same "scope", since it "induces the public to a serious error by equating heterogeneous and radically opposed situations". The FGE then issued a new Infofiscalía on June 6 where, far from taking a step back, it "complemented" its previous bulletin with "other additional appointment proposals made by the former State Attorney General, which could not be paralyzed because of the call for general elections." In total, according to the document, there were 11 "discretionary" designations by Madrigal.
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