Spain's Constitutional Court cancels PM's judicial reform

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected] • 20 Dec, 2022 Updated Tue 20 Dec 2022 10:43 CEST
image alt text
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez will continue to push for judicial reforms despite the Constitutional Court's decision. (Photo by Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)

Spain's Constitutional Court has suspended judicial reform amendments pushed by Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's government, prompting outrage from the administration over the rare intervention.


The penal code changes would have paved the way for renewing the mandates of four of the 12 judges on the Constitutional Court.

The government says the changes are necessary to end a four-year partisan stalemate that has paralysed judicial appointments and increasingly hamstrung the court system.


But the right-wing opposition Popular Party (PP) and its allies have accused the government of trying to stack the courts with leftist allies whose appointments it has sought to block.

Late on Monday, the court said it had "decided to admit the appeal... by PP lawmakers" against the proposed reforms to the penal code.

Cabinet minister Felix Bolaños called the court's intervention "extremely serious".

"The Constitutional Court has suspended the legislative action of the legitimate representatives of the Spanish people, which has never happened in 44 years" since the adoption of the Spanish Constitution in 1978, he said.

But PP leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo welcomed the decision.

"Today, our democracy is strengthened," he wrote on Twitter, promising "to defend Spain and its institutions without fear or concessions".

The two parties are at loggerheads over appointments to both the Constitutional Court and the 20-member General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), a legal watchdog responsible for appointing judges and ensuring the judiciary's independence.

The council's mandate expired in December 2018 and it has since been operating on an interim basis because the ruling Socialists and PP cannot agree on its makeup.

The deadlock has caused increasing problems in the functioning of the Spanish court system and prompted several rebukes from Brussels.



AFP/The Local 2022/12/20 10:43

Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also