The last phase of the negotiation between the PSOE and the Catalan independence parties to reach an investiture agreement in exchange for an amnesty law has angered the usual allies of the right and the extreme right in the judiciary and law enforcement forces. Both professional groups are precisely those who must apply the laws with respect to the principle of political neutrality. In the last few hours they have referred to the Government’s negotiations in very harsh terms: they predict the “abolition of the rule of law” and even “the beginning of the end of democracy.”
Accustomed to assuming the role of civil society, the Professional Association of the Judiciary (APM), which represents the most conservative wing of the judicial career, and the National Police union Jupol have closed ranks with the conservative parties, even copying their slogans. Like PP and Vox, these groups of judges and police spread apocalyptic forecasts about the future of Spain if the investiture agreement is consummated, once again distancing themselves from their role in defending the professional interests of their members. And all when the content of the law is not even known, whose fringes PSOE and Junts are trying to close in a negotiation that has been underway for weeks.
Protected by the echo that their pronouncements have in a sector of the media, the 1,355 judges affiliated with APM and the 25,000 police officers – the majority of them rank and file – that Jupol brings together, dominate the public discourse that transcends political parties, despite constitute a residual percentage of Spanish society. The ideological plurality in other sectors such as health or education and the renunciation of its members to act as political agents leave a space free that is filled with robes and uniformed men aligned with the postulates of PP and Vox.
In both cases, corporate associations twist their nature to legitimize meddling in a political issue. “An amnesty law calls into question the work of the Spanish judges who applied the ordinary laws democratically prepared by the legislative power,” argues the APM. “It is an insult that generates weakness in the image of police institutions and, therefore, a reduction in the principle of authority of the State Security Forces and Corps,” Jupol alleges.
The APM is the majority in the judicial career, although the largest group among judges and magistrates is those who are not affiliated with any association. The latter are 2,408 of the 5,408 that are active, 45%. Jupol, for its part, was the union with the most votes in last June’s elections, in which it also lost the resounding majority of representation in the Police Council that it had obtained in 2019.
The movement of the expired CGPJ
The APM statement was sent to the media around midnight on Wednesday, following the movement of a group of conservative members of the expired General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) also against a hypothetical amnesty. At midday it had emerged that eight of the ten councilors elected at the time on a proposal from the PP intended to request the convening of an extraordinary plenary session to approve a very harsh declaration against the regulations.
Finally, that plenary session will be held next Monday. On the table will be a text that accuses the acting president, Pedro Sánchez, of seeking an amnesty to achieve a “personal and political benefit” and that affirms that the grace measure represents the “abolition of the rule of law.” When consulted by elDiario.es, some of the members who sign the proposal acknowledge that they refer to a norm of which they do not know its content. However, they consider that their movement is justified from the moment in which Sánchez argued that the amnesty is the only way to “not give Feijóo and Abascal a second chance.” He also alluded, however, to “coexistence between Spaniards” and the need to close the fracture of the process.
“After hearing this justification, we found that it does not matter what the preamble of the law says or how the amnesty is finally regulated. That was what changed everything,” says one of these counselors. From then on, the text that will be debated next Monday began to be forged. The members of the conservative group, who in recent months had shown signs of division, have once again united around this issue. “The ideas were clear regarding such a relevant issue,” says this same member.
For the declaration to be approved, it needs the vote in favor of nine members of the plenary session. At the moment, it is subscribed by eight members, so everything depends on whether it can add some more support. None of the six members of the minority progressive sector are expected to vote in favor. The majority opinion in this group is that it is not up to the CGPJ to make pronouncements on a legislative initiative that has not even been presented. Some of its members even defend the need to boycott the meeting by not attending it, although others consider that their obligation is to attend and confront the arguments of the proponents, say the sources consulted.
Eyes are therefore directed to the other two members of the conservative sector who have not signed the petition. They are Supreme Court magistrate Wenceslao Olea and the interim president, Vicente Guilarte. However, the majority of members believe that the latter will maintain an institutional position and will not support this initiative. Guilarte is very close to Mariano Rajoy’s family and one of his main clients as a lawyer has been the College of Registrars, where one of the brothers of the former Prime Minister was a senior official.
Barely twelve hours after this initiative by conservative members emerged, the APM also raised the tone against the amnesty with a harsh statement. In that text, the association shows its “firmest rejection” of this hypothetical law and predicts “the beginning of the end of democracy” if it is finally approved. In his opinion, this is a measure that breaks the rules of the 1978 Constitution and blows up the rule of law.
The conservative judges go even further and add that the amnesty for those convicted and prosecuted by the process entails the “serious risk” that the same treatment could be demanded by “those who tried in other historical moments with the force of terror to achieve independence.” part of the territory, or they embezzled public funds invoking the same intention,” in a clear allusion to the violence of the terrorist group ETA.
For its part, Jupol took advantage of its Telegram channel to further harden the discourse against the progressive Government, now in office. ‘No to the Halloween Pact, No to Amnesty,’ reads its title. On Tuesday afternoon, the Popular Party made a video for X – formerly Twitter – under the slogan: ”With Pedro Sánchez there will always be a trick for him to make his deal. He invites. “We Spaniards pay the bill.”
According to Jupol’s reasoning, the displacement of hundreds of riot police to Catalonia to contain the altercations against the procés ruling in 2019 and, two years earlier, the 1-O vote is sufficient reason not to approve an amnesty law. “If it goes ahead, it will be confirmed that the work of the police officers, the injured agents and the three colleagues who were retired due to their injuries in the riots were of no use,” they maintain.
The statement begins with a novel argument to justify the political pronouncement of the police officers. It is, says Jupol, “a law that Pedro Sánchez intends to continue with in Moncloa and that represents a direct attack on Democracy, the Rule of Law, the Separation (sic) of powers, equality between Spaniards and the Constitution itself, of which the National Police has always been guarantor.”
Vox’s extreme nationalism dazzles a large sector of the Security Forces, but the opportunity to agitate the streets and use the high appreciation of its members by Spanish society, and its predictable reflection in the majority of the media, is something that Alberto Núñez Feijóo’s PP has decided not to give up. The last major demonstration of police and civil guards was held at the PP’s national headquarters last December.
Jusapol emerged in 2018 as a platform that demanded salary equalization with Mossos d’Esquadra and Ertzaintza. This is a historic demand of the police unions that took advantage of the independence process in Catalonia to attract the three right-wing political parties – PP, Ciudadanos and Vox – to their postulates and demonstrations. With the possibility of applying an amnesty to the leaders of the process, the positions of the ultra agents have worsened, adding to the usual string of PP and Vox on immigration, supposed citizen insecurity or the “breakup” of Spain.
The policy of tolerance with its pronouncements by the Ministry of the Interior has taken a turn in recent days. The legal services of the General Directorate of the Civil Guard are studying several messages in X from Jupol’s ‘sister’ organization in the Civil Guard, Jucil, on the occasion of Pedro Sánchez’s intervention in the last Federal Committee of the PSOE. “The greatest crime that can be committed against a Nation is the betrayal of those who have the duty to defend it. The personal interest of an individual above the freedom of the Spanish people,” wrote the Jucil civil guards.
An Interior spokesperson stated: “They have repeatedly exceeded the limits of union defense to believe themselves to be a kind of political actors, confusing the legitimate purposes of their activity and corrupting the values of the Civil Guard.” Already that day Jupol had launched similar messages on its social networks. The Jupol statement released this Thursday has been sent to the Human Resources Division of the National Police, along with other messages on the ultra union’s networks, to determine if it incurs any type of disciplinary offense.