The breaking of the democratic balances it has made the institutions fall like dominoes into discredit and delegitimization: the General Council of the Judiciary with its blockade has successively pushed the rest of the State.
Thus, almost all democratic institutions are bogged down, confronted, stressed and far from the relationships of respect and collaboration that would be desirable.
All the parties agree on that and perhaps that is the only thing on which they all agree, in a crossroads of accusations of authoritarianism, coup and the like who had never met.
In the commotion, there are no exit doors in sight, nor ways to stanch the damage, because until now almost all the decisions have had the effect of causing more institutional damage than what was wanted to be avoided. It doesn’t even heal those wounds elections raised in terms of plebiscite or confrontation between the government bloc and the opposition bloc, including what the Executive calls the “media, political and judicial right”.
It would be a kind of battle at the polls between state powers, maintaining the harsh dialectical exchange without institutionality and endowing the winner with “almost absolute power” to impose their reforms.
The Constitution of 1978 was based on consensus in its preparation, in its application and in its provisions, and that has blown up.
(The TC paralyzes for the first time a law in process to protect the minority’s right to debate)
At least initially, the Government, Senate and Congress have shown willingness to comply with the resolution of the Constitutional Court even if they reject it, so as not to aggravate the situation.
But the serious wounds to democracy caused by the lack of institutionality will not be easy to heal for a long time, in the same way that when toothpaste is taken out of the tube it is impossible to put it back. This is deduced from the first explanation of all parties, after the decision of the Constitutional Court.
“Degradation of the democratic system that is difficult to return,” said the president of the Senate, ander gilin his institutional declaration, to explain it, in coincidence with the message of the president of the Congress, Meritxell Batet. And both embody two of the main authorities of the State, the only ones that come from the direct will of the voters.
The two heads of the institutions, supported de facto by the majority of the two chambers, have harshly criticized the Constitutional Court for considering that violate the autonomy of the courts. An unusual situation in constitutional history. Also dangerous because it has swept away all the institutions without exception and that is where the gravity of the moment lies.
“The law does not grant the Constitutional Court that power,” said the minister with a serious tone Felix Bolanosas government spokesperson. Nothing less than the Executive accuses the Constitutional Court of breaking the law to adopt a decision that does not correspond to it, even if it agrees to comply with it.
“I will go as far as necessary”, said the president of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, with little willingness to stop the escalation.
Chronologically, this entire crisis began four years ago due to the refusal of the PP to renew basic institutionsstarting with the General Council of the Judiciary.
For four years, the two leaders that the PP has had, Pablo Casado and Alberto Núñez Feijóo, they have been giving different excuses for not renewing the institutions accordingly. They have been changing the arguments and adapting them to the different events so as not to lose the conservative majority that has been maintained since Mariano Rajoy governed.
The majority of the CGPJ still corresponds to the electoral results of 11 years ago, due to the refusal of the PP to agree to the renewal.
The PP only accepted a partial renewal of the Constitutional Court almost a year ago and now, when another renewal was due to change the conservative majority for a progressive one, the PP has once again denied through the CGPJ that it should appoint two magistrates.
For this reason, the Government explains that when the PP talks about “assault” by Pedro Sánchez on the Constitutional or says that it is about controlling it with Candid Count Pumpido of president is omitting that this is the majority that corresponds and that the election of president must follow the usual internal rules of election. And what would correspond is that Conde Pumpido was president.
The PP has damaged the institutions with its political decision. It has caused more damage to the institutions than it has achieved political benefit, although its bases and voters support that there are no pacts with Sánchez.
From then on, the Government has tried to deal with this blockade with at least four legal reforms in just one year.
The first consisted of changing the majority necessary to elect members of the CGPJ. He came to introduce her, but Brussels stopped him.
the second was remove powers from the CGPJ, especially those of appointment. This has caused a notable collapse in judicial bodies due to lack of renewal.
The third was to return to the CGPJ only the capacity to appoint magistrates of the TC, with the obligation to do so before last September 13. The members of the CGPJ have disregarded that rule and more than three months later they have not named him.
The fourth legal reform that the Government has made to deal with the blockade has been that of lower the necessary majority in the CGPJ to designate two magistrates of the TC, establishing an election mechanism that does not require a quorum, eliminating the placet that the TC should give to those proposed by the Government and establishing that it is not necessary to renew the Court corresponding to the Executive and the Council at the same time.
Before, Sanchez He appointed his former Minister of Justice and a senior Moncloa official to the TC and both are still waiting for the placet of the TC. Nor did that choice seem to seek precisely to preserve the institutions and prevent them from deteriorating.
This fourth legal reform was already discussed for its content but, in addition, Moncloa decided that instead of doing it with a PSOE bill so that the process would be faster or with a government bill that requires more time with reports and double round in the Council of Ministers, it would do so through another parliamentary route that has repeatedly rejected the TC in sentences.
The Government included the reform of the CGPJ law andn the bill that changes the Penal Code to soften embezzlement and eliminate the crime of sedition. A rude decision, according to the PP, of which even the lawyers of Congress warned. But the Government went ahead with the parliamentary path that, according to the TC, violates the right to participation of the deputies.
(Sentences of the TC reject the procedure chosen by the Government to modify the operation of the CGPJ)
Moncloa applied a wrong solution to try to solve the situation created by the PP, a legislative formula that also ends up damaging the institutions more.
Next, the PP appealed under protection against the decision to admit these amendments, requesting the precautionary suspension of the vote. The content of the reform is not yet appealed, but the form, that is, the route used to admit these amendments.
There are no literal precedents and the closest thing was the precautionary suspensions of plenary sessions of Parliament during the independence process, some at the initiative of the PSC.
Now the Constitutional Court has agreed to the request, which also causes greater institutional damage than what is wanted to be avoided. Stopping the chambers, the only directly elected institutions, are big words. The PSOE maintains that control of the Cortes corresponds to the TC, but after the fact, without interrupting its work.
Among other things because the amendments are no longer such, because the Plenary of Congress already incorporated them into the text with 188 votes in favor. The proposition remains in limbo sine die.
Could the Government, through the PSOE, submit a new bill similar, that it would no longer have the vice of origin of the suspended. But that, in turn, would cause another institutional mess because the PP would appeal for understanding that the Constitutional decision is “fighting”.
Everything would have been even worse if the Government, Congress and the Senate had announced that they were not complying with the TC’s decision. They would have added a new damage to institutionswhich would be added to what has been successively caused since the PP blocked the renewals.