Spanish Government will only reform the Constitutional Court Law’s renewal procedure

A renewal was urgent after the legitimacy crisis that occurred during the debate over the Catalan Statute of Autonomy. Some political forces, especially in Catalonia, were expecting a broader reform that would limit the Court’s power to decide on already approved laws via referendum.


September 20, 2010 11:53 PM

Madrid (ACN).- The Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, disappointed those who were expecting a deeper reform of the highly-politicised Constitutional Court. Catalan forces were demanding a broader reform. During the debate over the Catalan Statue of Autonomy, the court’s legitimacy became in question. The Constitutional Court was in an inoperative state, divided into 2 political blocks during the 4-year deliberation to agree on a sentence on the Catalan Statute of Autonomy. 

4 of the magistrates’ terms expired 3 years ago (in 2007), but due to a disagreement between the ruling Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and the opposition Spanish People’s Party (PP), their 9-year mandate was extended. This act contradicted what is written in the Spanish Constitution. The Court amended the Catalan top law (the Statute of Autonomy) in June of 2010. This occurred despite the text having been ratified in autumn of 2005 by the Catalan and Spanish parliaments and later via a binding referendum by the Catalan people. The Court’s appointment renewal procedure has been paralysed by the People’s Party in the Senate, obliging to only considering a very limited number of proposed candidates. This practice goes against the Constitution’s tradition of finding consensual candidates for this very special Court that has to mediate between the different levels of government in a State that in many ways is similar to a federal one.

Next November, 4 more magistrates are up for renewal and the PP continues its obstructive tactics. Today the PSOE Government announced its decision on the intention to link the Senate renewal that was due 3 years ago with the one scheduled this November undergone by the Spanish Parliament.