Cross-party pact balances membership of legal watchdog

But conservative expected to be chosen as president of CGPJ

The Popular Party (PP) government and the main opposition Socialist Party (PSOE) have reached an accord to balance the constitution of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ).

After two months of negotiation, the main political parties reached a deal to include 10 PP-nominated members, seven put forward by the PSOE, and one each from the Catalan nationalist CiU bloc, the Basque Nationalist Party and the United Left.

In the first plenary session of the newly constructed CGPJ, the members will elect a conservative president, albeit one that is agreed by consensus with the other parties. Of the 20 members, 12 will be drawn from the legal profession and will be directly chosen next week by a parliamentary committee. The remaining eight have already been selected and come from backgrounds other than within the sphere of justice.

The negotiation was overseen by Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón and Socialist deputy Antonio Camacho, a former interior minister. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and PSOE leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba were also consulted.

Although Gallardón and Camacho are both formerly prosecutors, for the first time in the CGPJ’s history there will not be one on the panel.

The selection of new panels for top legal institutions has seen the two major parties at loggerheads on several occasions in the past decade.

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