20 December 2011

A hidden conservative agenda?

Spanish Popular Party got an absolute majority in the last general elections and will be in power very soon. Mr Rajoy made a statement the same night of the elections and told those who didn’t vote for him not to be concerned. Most of us knew what he was talking about. Some of the social advances made by the previous progressive government are thought to be at risk under a conservative rule and fears are not just imaginary.

Regarding an issue that especially concerns me: same sex marriage, the conservative party appealed against it in the Constitutional Court back in 2005. One of the peculiarities of the Spanish system is that of extremely slow judicial procedures. Still at the end of 2011, the Court hasn't said whether gay marriage is constitutional or not. One of the reasons might be the diversity of the judiciary, given by seven years of minority governments. That didn’t allow the socialists to have a clear majority in this institutions, which was good in terms of democratic guarantees.

However, this new majority will allow the conservative party to appoint most of the judges in the Constitutional Court. To those unfamiliar with this system, those judges are elected mainly by the Congress of the Deputies, the Senate and the General Council of the Judicial Power (elected itself by the government and the legislative power), all of them, institutions under a clear influence of the Popular Party after the elections. And the appeal against same-sex marriage, of course, haven’t been withdrawn nor the conservatives wanted to appoint the judges before the elections. The process was blocked intently, although this institution was supposed to be renewed months ago, so they could sit whoever they wanted after winning a comfortable majority. All of this is a very representative attitude of the Spanish political parties.

The elected prime minister has already said in several occasions that he won’t remove this bill, although, of course, he will respect whatever the Constitutional Court says about it. A very democratic attitude if you don’t take into account that he’ll be sure about the result before the vote in the Court takes place. That’s why I still wonder why he doesn't remove the appeal so he is sure that same-sex marriage will persist in Spanish legislation. If he really wants his non-electors to feel comfortable, he could stop giving the impression that there’s a hidden conservative agenda to change essential bills through the back door, that is, manipulating a Court from within.

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