Former president of the General Council of the Judiciary and the Supreme Court, Pascual Sala, who faced a blockade of the governing body of judges similar to the current one in 1996, believes that now the same measures that were used then was to solve the problem through the “mass resignation” of a sufficient number of members so that there would be no quorum and it would be inevitable to renew the institution. Sala explains to EL PAÍS that then the effects of the lack of agreement to unblock the Council were much less severe than at present, as the delay was only a few months, but that the members of the institution agreed to force the situation without managed to be everyone needs to resign
“In that case it was enough,” Sala recalls, “for six members to resign, enough at the time to render the remainder meaningless, now without a quorum.” In the current situation, in which the Council is made up of eighteen members, a quorum shortfall would be eight resignations, leaving the governing body with ten members, when the necessary quorum for decision-making is achieved with 11.
“In 1996 it was time to renew the Council of the Judiciary, but an electoral process was underway and contacts took months to achieve this. He already had the possibility of renewal after the Cortes elections and I told him. But he delayed me and then the necessary members resigned to render the council useless, and immediately the institution was renewed by the Cortes. So there is a real case, a precedent, which is mine, in which replacements were achieved in such a way that the necessary members resigned so that the council became useless for lack of a quorum to make a decision. Finally, thus renewed in the time of PP of Ajnar, who won the election”.
Pascual Sala says that “now we can certainly act in the same way.” He, who was chairman of the judicial leadership between 1990 and 1996, explains that he does not seek to advise or interfere with the work of current members. However, he believes this is a precedent, especially in extreme conditions like the current one, in which the governing body of magistrates has been pending renewal for more than four years and will double next December. If the legislature expires without any agreement to change this status, its natural term of five years expires.
Sala stresses that this type of evacuation doesn’t require multiple procedures. “It is sufficient that the President of the Council accepts the resignations.” He adds that in his opinion there cannot be any administrative or other responsibility for a set of resignations, whether of some or all of the members of the governing body of judges. “With the resignations accepted, the council becomes useless, the government of a state power completely inactive.” The Chamber also considers that the President accepting such a resignation would not have any legal responsibility, especially given that it would be a decision to facilitate compliance with the Constitution itself, which establishes that the judiciary must The General Council must be renewed every time. Five years, a mandate that is not available at the recipient’s will.
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The former president of the judiciary believes that proper measures should have been put in place long ago to lead to the renewal of the council. “After one year without renewal, necessary measures have to be put into practice to unblock the situation. I do not want to weaken the present Council. I certainly didn’t want to and didn’t want to interfere. Those in council already know what happened in the 1996 update. A constitutional body cannot be prorogued twice from its mandate. Resignations could spur renewal. But it is also important to note that no one can compel the members to leave their posts.
For Pascal Sala, the most relevant thing is to bear in mind, in any case, that such a way out of the crisis the judiciary is passing through is legitimate and that the case itself is a successful precedent. And the member council he chaired decided to launch it. “Then the delay in renewal was only for a few months, and under special circumstances, as there was an election process in between. Let’s imagine if this would be appropriate and make sense now, four years and four months into the renewal.” Once agreement was reached and the factual position unblocking the Council was obtained, “I do not know that anyone suffered any consequences for the decisions made in their interests or at all opposed.” The Cortes took note of what happened and an agreement was reached between the PP, which had won the election, and the PSOE to renew the council.
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