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Justice Ministry changes tack on election of CGPJ members

Government performs U-Turn after expenses scandal

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Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón. EL PAÍS

The long-drawn-out departure of Carlos Dívar — who was found to have dipped into the judiciary's coffers during private trips — from the presidency of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), Spain's highest legal body, has sparked greater consequences. The government now appears willing to step back from its previous position of promoting the election of members of the CGPJ by judges and move back to an arrangement in which Congress holds sway.

The Justice Ministry confirmed the government's change of tack in a document sent to the new head of the CGPJ, Gonzalo Moliner, which was well-received by the judge and the opposition Socialist Party, which backs the current system.

In its electoral campaign the Popular Party proposed that 12 members of the CGPJ would be elected among judges and magistrates themselves, with the remaining eight elected by parliament, ensuring an almost permanent majority of conservatives in the top echelon of the judiciary.