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The Spanish judiciary has extended an invitation to king Felipe VI to preside over the annual graduation ceremony for new judges to be held in Barcelona, ​​an event traditionally attended by the monarch except for last year, when he announced his decision not to attend.

An act of pomp and ritual, essentially, centred on the new judges coming out of the Judicial School in Barcelona, where justices for the entire Spanish state are educated, and an event in which speeches are centred on reaffirming Spain's judicial power and, depending on the political context, giving additional messages. The Pedro Sánchez government wanted to discreetly make life easier for itself last year by preventing the king from going. But this absence had the opposite effect. In Barcelona, ​​there was no king to receive a whistling, but on the other hand, the judges confronted Sánchez.

This time last year, Catalan president Quim Torra's disqualification from office was about to be made final and, politically, the Spanish executive did not want any more upsets. The previous year, in 2019, the event was held, as an exception, in Madrid - for the first time ever, under the pretext of the 40th anniversary of the Constitution. But last year, despite the Covid-19 restrictions and the more austere act that was held, the judges invited the king to come to Barcelona. In the end, he did not.

This year the judiciary has again invited the monarch, as set down in the protocol. Sources from the judicial power, consulted by Europa Press, confirm that this year, as is tradition, an invitation has been extended to the royal house. There is still no set date for the event. It is usually in late September. It should be held before the end of the year.

Should king Felipe VI agree, a certain normality would return to this event, after the head of state's absence for the first time from the awarding of offices to the new judges. In 2020, the royal house communicated to the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) its decision not to attend, despite being invited the same as every year.

Two years of impasse 

According to the sources consulted, on that occasion, the judges' governing body issued the invitation, and it was accepted by the royal house with a confirmation of attendance. However, the CGPJ then received a new communication informing that the king would, in the end, not attend the ceremony.

It was the first time since his ascension to the throne in June 2014, that Felipe has not attended this event in Barcelona. However, the same sources noted that it was not the first time that a monarch had not witnessed the event.

The graduation is one of just a few annual events related to the judiciary that the king attends. These also include the Opening of the Judicial Year, which took place last week in the Supreme Court and was presided over by Felipe VI, as is also usual.

Due to his unusual absence last year, the judges' associations demanded explanations from both the Spanish government and the CGPJ. In fact, one of the associations, the Professional Association of the Judiciary (APM) released a statement calling on the Pedro Sánchez executive to explain the real reasons for the king's absence, as according to various media, the Spanish government, had "recommended" his absence for "security reasons".