17/09/2021

The right-wing tries to govern through the courts

2 min
Façade of the headquarters of the Constitutional Court.

This week an unprecedented event has taken place in the Spanish Constitutional Court. A conservative magistrate has decided to withdraw his own opinion to prevent it from being backed by his colleagues. He had only obtained the votes of the progressive magistrates and, therefore, it would cause a defeat of his colleagues on the right. As Ernesto Ekaizer explains , it is a new episode that shows to what extent the People's Party and Vox control the main organs of the judiciary and are succeeding in getting the right and the far right to impose their ideology over the parliamentary majority.

The paper in question was the response to an appeal by Vox against the Spanish Parliament's bureau for having suspended parliamentary activity during the worst days of the 2020 pandemic. At the time, there was a strict lockdown. It was clear that MPs', parliamentary staff and public health was the main concern, and Vox MPs themselves had considered it reasonable at the time and had even requested it. The conservative magistrates found that this violated MPs' rights, and the rapporteur, who at first had admitted this fact but had considered that it did not prove that the rights of the complainants had been harmed, wanted to throw out the case. In the end, when he saw that his opinion could win, and that this contradicted the conservative majority, which intended to punish the the Spanish Parliament's Speaker, Meritxell Batet, he announced that he was withdrawing it and postponing the vote.

It is despairing to see how the Spanish political and judicial right no longer even keeps up appearances when it comes to attacking its ideological opponents, whether they are from the left, the centre or, evidently, pro-independence forces. For a broad group of Catalan citizens, and also Spanish citizens, the discredit of the main judicial institutions is increasingly profound. But this, let us not deceive ourselves, does not worry them at all. On the contrary, it strengthens them even more. With pride, a high-ranking leader of the People's Party stated on the front page of a Madrid newspaper that "most judges" supported the PP. Does this mean that most judges do not support the parties voted for by more than half of Spaniards?

Now we may live through an autumn in which we see how the renewal of top judicial bodies, such as the General Council of the Judiciary and the Constitutional Court, continues in a stalemate, because the PP refuses to accept names that are not close to its own in order to maintain its grip on the courts. In addition, it will use this anomalous situation to question some of the PSOE-Unidas Podemos coalition government's star laws, as well as decisions such as the state of alarm. Among others, there are appeals by the PP and Vox on the recently approved law on euthanasia and on the reform of the law of the judiciary. Moreover, the appeal against Zapatero's 2011 abortion law is still pending resolution. We will have to be on top of it and make this inadmissible attempt of the right wing to want to govern through the TC clear time and time again.