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Spanish top court chief's resignation nudges parties to end 4-year stalemate

Spanish top court chief's resignation nudges parties to end 4-year stalemate

The head of Spain's supreme court stepped down on Monday, creating a vacuum at the helm of one of the country's key institutions and nudging the two main political parties towards ending a four-year stalemate over judicial appointments.
"Remaining in the post from now on would only make me complicit in a situation I abhor and is unacceptable," Carlos Lesmes, who stayed on as the tribunal's acting president after his mandate ended in 2018, said in a statement released on Sunday evening.

Following Lesmes's resignation, socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Alberto Nunez Feijoo, the leader of the opposition People's Party, met as a first step towards appointing new members of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), the body that picks the country's top judges.

"We are now ready to quickly find a solution," Felix Bolanos, the minister in charge of relations with parliament, told reporters on Monday after the meeting between Sanchez and Nunez Feijoo.

"We are committed to negotiating earnestly," he added.

Appointing CGPJ members requires a three-fifths majority in parliament, which has proved impossible without the support of the People's Party.

In Spain's increasingly polarised political landscape, there have been few agreements between the two main parties, which have spent the past four years accusing each other of acting in bad faith.

"We've moved forward to reach a joint renewal of the CGPJ and Constitutional Court in a new framework with new criteria deepening their independence," Nunez Feijoo said on Twitter.

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