Gonzalo Moliner, elected president of the Judicial Council and the Supreme Court.
C. Guindal 07/17/2012 (06:00 AM CET)
Spain’s Minister for Justice, Alberto Ruiz Gallardón, has lost the battle over the leadership of the Judicial Council, the highest constitutional body that oversees and controls the judiciary.
Since the former president of the council, Carlos Dívar, stepped down in the middle of June following a storm of criticism against his semi-private trips to luxury resorts paid by public funds, the minister for justice has been trying to make strategic moves so that the presidency of the council would be taken over by a person close to himself, and in particular by Fernando de Rosa, the president currently in charge.
The decision by the judges on the council to chose Supreme Court judge Gonzalo Moliner, was not what the minister had wished.
A ‘progressive’ judge
Moliner, who will lead the council, as well as the Supreme Court, until September 2013, is a member of the association Judges for Democracy (JpD), and has led a career in law for 43 years.
With twelve votes in favor, five against him and three abstentions, the council achieved a vote that avoided a division between the 20 judges on the council, which would have led to an intervention in the decision by the government. According to sources on the council, that was what the justice minister had hoped for.
Moliner, who is described as a 'progressive judge' - which in Spain would be interpreted as left-wing - has, for instance, openly criticized the centre-right Popular party government’s labour reform.
Criticism against government reforms
Moliner is also opposed to the reform of the legal system suggested by Ruiz Gallardón, which will lead to reduced powers for the Judicial Council and a reduction of the number of judges on the council.
The last days, leading up to the election, have been marked by the protests against the government's cuts announced last week that will affect all public sector employees, including employees in the legal sector.
Many judges and attorneys have participated in several spontaneous street protests in Madrid against the budget cuts that include benefit reductions for them.
The elected president of the Judicial Council is expected to over the position on Monday.
This article was translated and edited by Stina Lunden.
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