The end of the 2024 electoral cycle has opened a new window of opportunity to unblock the General Council of the Judiciary, which the PP has held back for more than five years. Although the confidence of the right in the intentions of the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, is minimal, some demands that were immovable just weeks ago have disappeared from the public statements of Alberto Núñez Feijóo and his spokespersons. The Government believes that the talks have progressed since the ultimatum issued by Pedro Sánchez. But they remain cautious about the agreement because they fear that Feijóo’s arm will be bent again.

“Anything that involves advancing judicial independence, the PP will sign,” Feijóo said this Monday in Brussels. Not a word about the system of election of judges, the great obstacle to reaching an agreement. But neither about access to the Constitutional Court, the reform of the Prosecutor’s Office or the limitation on what they now call “revolving doors” between justice and politics.

No trace of the decalogue of immovable demands that Feijóo has put forward since assuming the leadership of the PP, more than two years ago. This Monday, the PP spokesperson, Borja Sémper, did not do so either, despite the insistence of journalists when asking him. Outside of the microphones, no PP leader has repeated the well-worn phrase that “judges have to elect judges.”

But the PP’s turn, the limitation of its demands, did not occur immediately after the European elections. Not even after the ultimatum issued by Sánchez last week. At first, Feijóo reneged. Now, he prefers not to acknowledge it. “We are not worried about ultimatums and blackmail,” he told reporters in the Belgian capital.

The PP trusts the options according to the intermediation of the European Commission. The Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, returns to his position on June 25, and maintains the mandate to seek a rapprochement between the two parties. Of course, as the vice-president of the Commission Vera Jourova recalled, its active role has already concluded and it is now the parties that have to present a joint proposal that the Commission will validate.

On Monday, Feijóo said he was “waiting for the definitive proposal” from the Government, and concluded: “We will have a meeting within the framework of the EU in the coming weeks.”

The hard wing of the PP, expectant

In the PP they believe that Sánchez is bluffing and that he will not agree to agree to the renewal of the CGPJ, but will instead try to reform the law with his parliamentary partners to thus “control” the governing body of the judges. For this reason, the sources consulted maintain, he issued the ultimatum.

Despite the distrust, Feijóo has chosen to modulate the PP’s speech in public. And the hard wing of the party has already said, also in public, that they reject any pact with the Government, something that they already made explicit in October 2022, when the party leader had practically closed the pact by the Government in the absence of the date to announce it and ended up backing down due to pressure from the hardest sectors of the right.

That rejection continues today. The first to make it clear was, as usual, Isabel Díaz Ayuso last week. The president of Madrid called Sánchez’s ultimatum “democratic bullying.” And she launched one of her lapidary phrases: “It is the most inappropriate time for Sánchez to intervene and try to dominate the CGPJ and the Supreme Court.”

The president of Aragón, Jorge Azcón, has stood at Ayuso’s side, who this Monday did explain the demand that the PP had been maintaining. “Until we get the judges to elect the judges, with a Prime Minister who does not hide his desire to subject the judiciary to his partisan designs, it is impossible and extremely dangerous to enter into a renewal of the Judiciary,” he said. he.

The Aragonese president’s phrase came the same day that José María Aznar demanded a “permanent mobilization” against the Government. The former president called it an “ultra-left that wants to end the constitutional order and that wants to end the historical continuity of Spain.” Aznar denounced Sánchez’s alleged attempts to control the judges and “the free press.”

Despite the words of Aznar, who did not explicitly refer to the CGPJ, and the first reaction of Ayuso, the hard wing of the PP is waiting to see the development of events

The Government, between optimism and fear that Feijóo will falter

In the PSOE and in the Government they have been swinging for a week between optimism due to the signals sent by Génova Street and skepticism due to the history of accumulated failures in the last five years. At Moncloa they admit that things have moved forward since the ultimatum issued by Pedro Sánchez and in which he set the deadline for an agreement as June 30 before undertaking reforms outside the opposition. But they still don’t trust us.

“The problem we have with the PP is always the same, that we do not know who is in charge,” they point out in the Executive to remember that Feijóo already had his arm bent at the last moment from the hard wing of his party a year and a half ago. That the person who embodies that sector, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, has maintained a discreet profile in recent days while the negotiations between the PSOE and the Popular Party advance, makes the socialist ranks think that the margin for agreement is, this time, real. .

“We really hope for an agreement. I don’t believe that Feijóo is going to leave that political legacy of not complying with the Constitution,” says a Ferraz leader. But while the talks continue, those of Pedro Sánchez keep open plan B for a reform outside the popular ones if they finally slam the door again at the last moment. And they do not lower the tone of their criticism in public due to the five-year delay in the renewal.

“It certainly won’t work for us, the ball is in the PP’s court. In fact, the ball has been on the roof for more than 2,000 days. Enough days have already passed for them to lower it,” said Government spokesperson, Pilar Alegría, at the press conference after the Council of Ministers this Tuesday. In the control session in the Senate, Vice President María Jesús Montero was even more pointed. “They should have a little modesty to talk about the Constitution when they have not fulfilled the constitutional mandate of the renewal of the General Council of the Judiciary for five years,” she snapped at the popular bench.


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