War of interpretations between the Government and the PP on the Venice Commission | Spain

The final report of the Venice Commission this Friday endorsed the essence and spirit of the amnesty law. But the advisory and non-executive body of the Council of Europe then lists a series of criticisms against the norm approved this Thursday in Congress, such as its urgent processing or the extension of the temporal scope of application, introduced through a transactional amendment last week. . Under this framework, the Government and the PP have interpreted the text from their own prism and have chosen the conclusions that are closest to their positions to take advantage of the opinion, which in any case is not binding. The Moncloa celebrates its content and maintains that “they demolish the main lie of the PP, which said that the Venice Commission required a constitutional reform to approve a law of this type and maintains its assessment of the political legitimacy of the amnesty as an instrument of reconciliation” . For its part, the Popular Party has shown its “satisfaction” and has defended that the body’s conclusions coincide with the allegations presented by the party.

But the report does not support the maximum positions of either party. Regarding the Government’s position, the Venice Commission agrees on the value of the amnesty as a vehicle to work for reconciliation and shares the arguments on which the norm is based to achieve this goal, as amnesties generally aim to achieve. . And that is what the Minister of the Presidency, Justice and Relations with the Cortes, Félix Bolaños, has taken to boast about the ruling. “The report strongly supports that there may be an amnesty law in Spain to seek reconciliation,” Bolaños said this Friday afternoon from Bilbao. The minister, however, has overlooked the drawbacks expressed by the Venice Commission and reduced them to simple “nuances.”

The institution suggests that “qualified majorities” are necessary for this type of laws, that is, with a greater consensus than the absolute majority convened by Congress this Thursday, although it recognizes that in Spain organic laws require only an absolute majority and does not consider that the Constitution must be reformed. The Government interprets that the report “fully maintains the central elements of the positive assessment” that the draft already advanced, among which they highlight that “the bill does not affect the principle of equality or the separation of powers.”

As for the PP, Bolaños once again sarcastically thanked the popular party for having requested the report through the Senate, where they have an absolute majority, and encouraged them to “join” the line set by the Council of Europe body. although it is difficult for them to reach “consensus”. Always using irony, the minister has advised the leader of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, to go ahead and not take as many years to recognize the benefits of the amnesty as his party took to embrace the abortion or homosexual marriage laws. And he has also asked him to say in public “the same thing” as what a high-ranking source considered at a meal with 16 journalists in Lugo. In the middle of the Galician campaign, the PP leadership opened itself to a conditional pardon for Carles Puigdemont and Feijóo himself at a rally spoke of “reconciliation” and admitted that they studied for 24 hours the amnesty that Junts asked of them.

On the other side of the prism, the popular ones consider that the report supports their attacks against the amnesty law and reaffirm the benefits of having requested the opinion through the Upper House. The president of the Senate, the popular Pedro Rollán, intervened this Friday in the debate of the advisory body and has influenced the modifications introduced in the aftermath through transactional amendment. In the Popular Party they consider that the Venice Commission has agreed with all the registered allegations. “It was a success that the Senate requested the Venice Commission Report. It comforts and reaffirms the success, in order to guarantee the equality of Spaniards and the territories,” Rollán assured from Venice.

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Following Bolaños’ statements, the general secretary of the PP, Cuca Gamarra, responded fiercely to the minister. “The problem that the Government has with the independentists is added to the problem that Félix Bolaños has with the truth. The review that the Venice Commission gives to the Government of Spain is historic and unprecedented,” Gamarra said in a statement released to the media. “The Venice Commission has shamed them in an unprecedented humiliation. We will repeal that law when we reach the Government and we will be able to make budgets,” added the general secretary. In the Popular Party they avoid, as in the case of the Executive, mentioning the issues that the advisory body does applaud regarding the conciliatory meaning of all amnesties, and also the recognition that the division of powers is not in question if the final decision of The application is taken by the judges, who contradict their fierce attacks. For Gamarra, the Commission’s opinion “questions the substance and form of the law.” The Government admits that there are drawbacks, especially the extension of the deadline that was made in the last amendment and some issues of greater precision in the delimitation of the coverage of the law, but believes that they can be corrected with greater explanations and that they do not attack in any way. moment to the heart of the law and the legitimacy and political usefulness of making it.

Regarding another of the warnings that the report makes, that is, that judges should not inform the investigation commissions of their motivations or of the cases they have heard, Bolaños has been blunt these days: the PSOE will never support any demand in this sense of those that ERC and Junts are proposing in Congress, and no judge will be asked for explanations from Congress. And as for greater consensus, the central element of the criticism made by the Venice Commission, the Government insists that they would like the PP to join the initiative, but believes that this is politically unviable and therefore remains with the part in which the report recalls that although a greater consensus would be desirable, legally an absolute majority in Congress is sufficient, which is precisely what this judges’ amnesty achieved, with 178 votes in favor and 172 against.

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