Saturday, August 01, 2009

An Independent Verdict On Abortion?

Proposed new laws in Spain are normally presented for consideration of their legal implications to the Consejo General del Poder Judicial (CGPJ). This body is theoretically responsible for the administration of the judicial system and is also a part of the much broader system of political patronage. When the CGPJ was finally renewed last year after the Partido Popular stopped blocking any change, there were significant protests about the packing of the institution with political appointees by both the PSOE and the PP. The PSOE did surrender a couple of their places to representatives recommended by the conservative Basque and Catalan nationalists. Then Zapatero seems to have decided that he needed to take the edge off the evidently political choices by appointing an independent to preside the body. That person was Carlos Dívar, who is truly a god fearing citizen.

So recently it came to the turn of the proposed reform of Spain's abortion law. The CGPJ split right down the middle with those appointed by the PP acting as a bloc and issuing a report against the new law. The PSOE representatives then produced their version in favour and both reports were put to the vote. The PP supporters cannot on their own command a majority so their report was voted down. The other report favourable to the reform could have been passed were it not that the representative proposed by the Catalan CiU decided to abstain on both documents. This left the result for the second report in a draw meaning that the president had to use his casting vote. Step forward Carlos Dívar, who apparently believes that the only true justice comes from God, making his choice of earthly profession a strange one. Dívar voted against the report approving the new law on the basis of his religious convictions and creating for the first time a situation where the CGPJ cannot pronounce itself either for or against a new law. The reform will still go ahead and will inevitably end up in the Constitutional Court, destination of all laws in the last few years that the PP has opposed.

1 comment:

Pueblo girl said...

Arggghhh! How is it possible that the "supreme authority on the state judiciary" feels that it is acceptable to base his vote on his personal feelings rather than the constitution? Why is abortion still being treated as an exceptional case where private beliefs are given the same weight as public welfare and interpretation of the law? Name me one other issue where this would be accepted without outrage. Many grindings of teeth...