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The leadership of the Spanish judiciary - divided and with their mandates expired for five years - approved an institutional declaration this Monday against the amnesty for Catalan independence process prosecutions. With nine votes in favour, five against and one blank vote, the resolution moved by eight members of the conservative majority was successful. This vote count is due to the absence of progressive member Álvaro Cuesta at the extraordinary meeting held this Monday; he fulfilled his threat and did not show up. It must be taken into account that this pronouncement forced by the judges nominated by the People's Party (PP) occurs when they do not yet have any text of an amnesty law in their hands, because this has not yet been definitively agreed between the Socialists (PSOE) and Junts per Catalunya; no bill has even been presented to the Congress of Deputies to take it forward.

The special meeting held this Monday was forced last week by 8 of the 10 conservative members of the organ of judicial governance, the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ). The bloc of judges placed by the PP in the judicial body is larger than the progressive group, which has only 6 members. That is, there are 16 in total and the majority is achieved with 9 votes. The eight members who moved the initiative were waiting to see what their two fellow conservatives would do in the vote: member Wenceslao Olea and interim CGPJ president, Vicente Guilarte. As sources from the judiciary have confirmed to, Olea was the member who joined the group against the amnesty. Now, in the absence of Cuesta, the 16 members became 15, so that with the votes of the eight promoters of the declaration they already had the majority, without the need for the ninth vote.

At the end of the day, the result of the CGPJ meeting this Monday is good news for the PP, due to the conservative majority that currently exists in the judiciary. This is why Alberto Núñez Feijóo's party has no interest in renewing the mandate of the General Council of the Judiciary, which expired five years ago. The European Commission has repeatedly reprimanded Spain for not renewing its judicial leadership, and Pedro Sánchez has urged the PP several times to sit down and negotiate a renewal of this institution, without success


The declaration against the amnesty

What did the eight conservative members behind this statement say? The text approved this Monday mainly shows their "intense concern and desolation" for the "degradation" that an amnesty law for independence movement prosecutions would entail. "To confuse the interest of Spain with the interest of the acting PM in order to avoid the hypothetical formation of governments of parties with an ideology different from his is something manifestly incompatible with political alternation", assert the conservatives of the CGPJ.

"Using the promulgation of an atypical law to invade the competences of the Judiciary as a means of political negotiation constitutes a perversion of the constitutional regime," the CGPJ judges also add. The members state that "it is not compatible with the principle of the rule of law" for political leaders to "remain exempt from answering for their crimes before the courts so that an aspiring prime minister can achieve the personal and political benefit of preventing a government by other political forces".


The absence of Álvaro Cuesta

Progressive member Álvaro Cuesta asked last week for the cancellation of the extraordinary plenum scheduled for this Monday. The progressive magistrate emphasized that the call of this plenum was "manifestly illegal" and, in a statement, he already announced his decision not to attend in the event that the plenary ended up being held, considering it "contrary to the legal system and to the constitutional functions" of the CGPJ. In his statements, he made it clear that he does not wish to contribute to the "dignity and disrepute" represented by a series of members with expired mandates being considered in revolt against the initiatives of the legitimately elected parliament arising from the 23rd July election.