Condé-Pompido climbs the last peak

Candido Conde-Pumpido (La Coruña, 1949) spent almost three decades in the judicial leadership of Spain. The Criminal Law Chamber of the Supreme Court, the Supreme State General Prosecutor’s Office and from now on the chairmanship of the Constitutional Court. The magistrate is mandated by a progressive majority in the plenary session and intends to unblock issues that have been gathering dust in the drawers of the warranty court for years. Also on a mission to calm the constitution after one of its most convulsive phases, with a conservative sector openly opposed to his presidency and a progressive sector divided by the candidacies of his rival, María Luisa Balaguer.

73-year-old Candido Condé-Pompido is no stranger to public opinion. His training program began in 1974 at the Court of Puebla de Sanabria in Zamora and went through Ourense, Donostia and Segovia until he arrived in 1995 at the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court, at that time the youngest judge, Marcus de la Calle. , where there aren’t many togados with less than half a century to live. He was 46 years old then.

His signature is stamped on some of the most relevant decisions of this room in the second half of the decade, related to anti-terrorist liberation groups (GAL) and state terrorism during the government of socialist Felipe González. He is responsible, for example, for the conviction of Minister José Barrionevo in the “Maria case”. He was also the speaker of the sentence that sentenced Luis Roldan, the Director General of the Civil Guard who robbed the mortuary, to 31 years in prison. .

It was in 2004 that he jumped to another agency, the state attorney general’s office. The first is related to the government and later to the political party. It was the socialist government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero who chose him as the head of the Public Ministry. “The most sectarian prosecutor of democracy,” various PP representatives said during his tenure as attorney general until he left in 2011 before the arrival of Mariano Rajoy. His appointment by the Socialist Executive was used by the PP not only to shore up the opposition, but also to put him behind investigations into popular corruption cases that, in some cases, resulted in the conviction of his collaborators and leaders.

It was also in 2009, for example, when the PP led by Rajoy unsuccessfully demanded his appearance in parliament to explain the leak of the Gurtel case, which they then called a “conspiracy against the partnership” and whose punishment led to his departure from Moncloa. Ten years later. The same PP gave its votes to Condé-Pompido in 2017 to be appointed constitutional magistrate on the proposal of the Senate.

In nearly five decades of practice, Candido Conde-Pompido’s legal career leaves no room for doubt even among his opponents in court. His intention, as the magistrate himself revealed to his entourage, is to try to prevent the Constitutional Court from being a body that decides issues and appeals after years of delay and sometimes when the situation appealed by the citizen has no solution. Unblock, for example, the appeal decision that the PP filed against the abortion law, which is to be replaced by new regulations. Or that the migrant has no answer to the expulsion order when he has been outside Spain for several years and his whereabouts are unknown.

Constitutional division in half

Several factors work in their favor. First and most important, a progressive majority was installed in the Constitutional Court after the last renewal. Also neutralizing the attempt of María Luisa Balaguer, from the same sector, to challenge him in the presidential elections: Condé-Pompido was declared president with only one vote more than him, but kept the progressive bloc. Balaguer, with whom, until this battle, which lasted for weeks, he had always maintained the opinions of coincidence in judgment and individual votes. The vice-presidency, which on other occasions was awarded to the opposing sector, also fell to the progressive Immaculate Montalbán.

Playing against him is the fact that the conservative sector of the court, now in the minority, has made no secret of their distaste for his presidency. The opposition, which did not appear in these weeks. Apart from the legal differences, the clash between Candido Condé-Pompido and the conservative magistrates became evident when the first draft of one of his personal votes on the state of emergency judgment forced him to apologize to his colleagues, to whom he came to qualify. “Salon lawyers” for the cancellation of the first state of alarm. These statements did not appear in the final document.

In recent weeks, voices from the conservative sector did not directly say that they would support Balaguer just to topple Condé-Pompido, but they said that the professor was more “conciliatory” to them than the former attorney general. A diplomatic way of saying that members of the conservative sector did not want him to be president.

When Pedro González-Treviano headed the Constitutional Court in 2021, one of his main goals was to achieve consensus in sentencing, division between blocs and a short but peaceful mandate. He got other things, but not this. The Tribunal of Guarantees, now chaired by Candido Condé-Pompido, stems from the greatest institutional crisis in its entire history: the plenary sessions in which the conservative sector reversed the possibilities of admission and inadmissibility in order not to allocate the necessary number of magistrates to paralyze the vote in Congress in an unprecedented way.

Also the sentences, in which the constitutional was split in two, to cancel two states of alarm, evaluating two separate appeals from the far-right Vox party. On the accusations of Maria Luisa Balaguer, who warned of “extreme polarization” in the court itself. and about the absolute impossibility of unanimously punishing such pressing matters as the punishment of the independence process.

His presidency was marked by one of the most tumultuous periods of the General Council of Justice and the coordinated actions of a group of conservative members who, after the expiry of their mandate, directed their efforts to install candidates, making their elections difficult. in front of the Constitutional Court. For months, they refused to sit down to negotiate and vote on two candidates they would agree with, as well as blocking the arrival of two government-appointed candidates, while extending Gonzalez-Treviano’s tenure by half a year.

Therefore, the Galician jurist does not reach the presidency of the Constitutional Court in a peaceful moment, and he does not do so for a short term: he will be in office until he leaves the court in 2026, when his and Balaguer’s terms will also be fulfilled. and in 2017 the magistrates appointed by the Senate with the support of PSOE and PP. Unblocking a court rocked by both external and internal controversies and the threat of networks emerging on Via Domenico Scarlatti are two of Condé-Pompido’s challenges at the Constitutional Court, which is going through the most tumultuous period in its 44-year history. .

Source: El Diario

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