The president of the Supreme Court and the General Council of the Judiciary, Carlos Lesmes, will resign from his post tomorrow, after assuming that there will not be an agreement between the PP and the PSOE to renew the body of judges, in office for almost four years.
As soon as he heard the news, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, summoned the President of the Popular Party, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, to a meeting tomorrow morning at the Palacio de la Moncloa.
Moncloa sources warn that the only thing that is going to be considered tomorrow is the unblocking of the CGPJ and compliance with the Constitution. In other words, Sánchez clarifies that he is not going to negotiate a possible reform of the law so that the judges are the ones who choose the members as a condition for their renewal.
These sources categorically affirm "that there is no talk of reforming the law and that compliance with the Constitution cannot be made conditional on anything." And they insist on the seriousness of what happened, so "it must be renewed without conditions."
For his part, Núñez Feijóo announced on his Twitter account that he will attend tomorrow's meeting but warns that "my pact offer has been there since July to guarantee the independence of Justice as requested by the EU and, although I regret that there has been than to reach the resignation of the president of the TS, I will go with the best disposition".
So far, positions have been acrimonious. The PP has made it very clear that it does not intend to renew the body of judges until the law is renewed so that the twenty members that make it up are elected by the judicial career without the control of Parliament.
For its part, the Government defends that first the law must be complied with and the Council renewed and then it will be studied whether the Organic Law of the Judiciary must be modified, as Europe demands.
Around half past eight in the afternoon this Sunday, Lesmes announced what he had already been warning about since last September 7. After the opening of the judicial year, he threatened to leave his post if the two main political parties did not urgently agree to unblock the situation.
The act for the Day of the National Holiday that is celebrated this day 12 has accelerated its situation. Lesmes did not want to appear again as an authority before King Felipe VI after the opening of the judicial year.
In a statement, Lesmes explained that the deadline announced by himself to the members of the Council in plenary session on September 29 has ended today, without the Government and the opposition having reached an agreement for the renewal or return of powers. to the governing body of the judges, has decided to cease "immediately in the functions that correspond to it legally".
After the call made during the opening speech of the judicial year to the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and the head of the opposition, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, to find a definitive solution to the "unsustainable" situation in which the Supreme Court finds itself and the CGPJ and the exhortations in the same direction made by the Commissioner of Justice of the European Union, "the contacts developed these last days, of which I have been informed", have not given any positive result.
For this reason, Lesmes announces that he will formalize his resignation tomorrow, Monday, as he himself announced when verifying that there is no agreement in the CGPJ for his renewal.
Lesmes has released a video in which he explains his reasons for resigning. With some harsh words, the until now president of the judiciary speaks of "repeated infringement" of the term to comply with the constitutional mandate to renew the body after five years of mandate.
As he has acknowledged, since the Council has been in office, it has contacted the various officials to demand a renewal or at least recover the powers of the CGPJ and thus be able to continue appointing magistrates. Lesmes acknowledges that his efforts "have not borne the expected fruit."
This last claim is due to the decision of the PSOE, together with Podemos, to reform the law last year and prevent the Council from continuing to appoint magistrates to the Supreme Court, as a way of pressuring the PP to renew. However, this reform has caused a situation of collapse in the high court because there are fewer and fewer magistrates in the chambers, due to retirements or deaths. In the coming months, several of the chambers will have problems reaching the minimum number of magistrates to hold hearings or study appeals.
The still president of the CGPJ has sent a pessimistic message in view of his belief that this situation can continue "for years", which "increasingly weakens and erodes the institutions of Spanish justice and therefore our rule of law".
In his statement, Lesmes lamented that all his efforts to reverse the situation have been unsuccessful, which has caused him to lose all hope. "Given the deterioration of the Supreme Court and the CGPJ and that I cannot avoid, my presence is useless and is contrary to my own professional conscience. Keeping myself can only serve to be an accomplice in a situation that I abhor," he snapped.
As of tomorrow, once his departure becomes effective, the former president of the body of judges and the Supreme Court will return to his position as a magistrate in the Administrative Litigation Chamber of the high court, a position he has held since 2010. Lesmes himself He explained that he returns to the Chamber so that the minimum number of magistrates can be maintained to form a chamber in the face of the situation that will be generated with the next retirement soon.
Lesmes leaves without leaving the appointment of two magistrates of the Constitutional Court resolved, after the clash with the conservative bloc, which was lengthening the situation while waiting for an effective renewal of the body.
A part of the Council was convinced that Lesmes would hold out at least until the 13th, which had called an extraordinary plenary session to try to force these two appointments. However, sources close to Lesmes insisted that the convocation of this plenary session was not linked to his possible resignation, since he wanted to avoid the image with the King again.
With his departure, a possible agreement between conservatives and progressives to appoint two magistrates of the TC will be further complicated, which will lead to a situation of expiration of the body that defends the Magna Carta.
Lesmes' resignation will not be peaceful. Before his departure, he commissioned a report from his technical office to determine who should be his substitute. The technicians determined that it should be the current acting vice president of the Supreme Court, Francisco Marín, a senior magistrate.
However, part of the Council considers that the person who should assume the functions of president should be the most senior member, that is, Rafael Mozo. This will have to be decided by the plenary.
Another of the unknowns that are open is whether there will be more members who present their resignation in a cascade as a way of forcing the Government and the PP to once and for all sit down to negotiate and unblock the situation.