The Constitutional Court unanimously rejects the count of null votes requested by the PSOE | Spain | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

The Constitutional Court has unanimously rejected the count of null votes in Madrid that the PSOE claimed, in response to sources from the assure physique. With this request, the socialists aspired to recuperate a seat that they see as key to the tight vote for the investiture of Pedro Sánchez. The purpose for the rejection is that the court docket considers that there is no such thing as a generic proper to request this kind of recount with out alleging particular causes and solely to confirm whether or not the operation was carried out with none error at the time, particularly when there are not any well-founded suspicions that the closing consequence could also be totally different. In this sense, the Constitutional Court emphasizes that “immediacy” in figuring out the vote count “constitutes a good legal thing to protect.” The decision has been adopted by the Second Chamber, whose composition is 4 progressive judges and two conservatives.

The speaker, Judge Laura Díaz, has dominated in favor of dismissing the socialists’ enchantment, as has the Prosecutor’s Office of the Constitutional Court. In each circumstances, they supported the thesis that there have to be particular causes for demanding a brand new recount of the annulled votes, since in any other case it could be very seemingly that claims and repetitions would happen to assessment the electoral outcomes with out the political forces had beforehand and well-foundedly alleged the existence of particular irregularities.

The Constitutional Court has now clarified its doctrine on claims for electoral recounts, establishing in its ruling that “whoever urges the review of the null votes contained (…) is obliged to base his request on the denunciation of irregularities during the electoral process.” The court docket provides that “although it is not reasonable to demand in these cases full proof of the alleged irregularities (…) “a minimum of proof have to be invoked.”

Therefore, the Constitutional Court makes it very clear for doable claims in the future that the “review or control of the acts of the electoral procedure” is “conditional” on the individual requesting them “complying with this minimum allegation burden.” The ruling emphasizes that “the isolated fact that the count shows a tight difference between the two candidates in contention for the last seat in a constituency cannot be considered, without further consideration, as a valid reason to urge the review of the null votes, “if no signs of irregularity are alleged that call into question the proper observance of the prior guarantees inherent to the electoral process.”

The socialists had requested the examination of the 30,302 invalid votes registered in the province of Madrid because the difference between the result of the PSOE and that of the PP, in the dispute for the last seat, was very small, 1,323 votes. The Supreme Court had already rejected that claim, saying that this small margin was not “sufficient basis for review.” With this decision, the assure physique expands its scarce doctrine on this kind of battle, in the sense of requiring that requests for brand spanking new counts will need to have a strong foundation for the perception that errors have occurred, and never reply solely to curiosity derived from the small quantity of votes obtained by one candidate or one other.

The Constitutional Court deliberated this Tuesday on the merits of the matter. The decision on the PSOE appeal corresponds to the Second Chamber of the Constitutional Court, made up of two conservative judges – César Tolosa and Enrique Arnaldo – and four progressive judges – Ramón Sáez, María Luisa Balaguer, Laura Díez and the president, Inmaculada Montalbán.

What affects the most is what happens closest. So you don’t miss anything, subscribe.


The arguments of the guarantee body

The Constitutional Court considers that there is no “unconditioned right” to demand a review of the count of invalid votes in an election and that to do so it is essential to invoke “at least the indication of the existence of some irregularity in the electoral procedure.” This is how the guarantee body expresses itself to explain the reasons why it has unanimously rejected the appeal presented by the PSOE to have the annulled votes in the 23-J elections in Madrid re-counted, a request based on the possibility of recovering a seat in this constituency, where no specific reasons were previously alleged to question the correctness of the count.

The PSOE claim initially opened a debate in the Constitutional Court. The speaker, Judge Díez, had two contradictory reports on her table, coming from the court’s lawyers. One of them advocated the admission of the appeal for processing because it was considered that the case had “special constitutional significance” and “transcends the specific case by raising a legal question of relevant and general social or economic repercussion.” The other, on the other hand, considered that the appeal should be rejected outright because the court had made it clear in a 2015 ruling that to obtain a new count there must be specific reasons.

The first debate on the admission to processing – after the Supreme Court Prosecutor’s Office endorsed the PSOE’s claim to “clear any hint of cheap doubt about the true and precise will of the electoral physique” – ended with four votes to two in favor of study the challenge. The progressive sector of the guarantee body considered that the doctrine of the previous ruling needed to be made more precise, and this has meant that the resolution qualifies the importance of the requirement that there be some specific reason to demand the repetition of an electoral recount. In this sense, the new ruling concludes that “whoever urges the assessment of the null votes is obliged to base his request on the denunciation of irregularities throughout the electoral course of.”

The court adds that “though it isn’t cheap to demand in these circumstances full proof of the alleged irregularity (…) a minimum of proof of this have to be invoked.” Therefore, the use of the review or control mechanisms of the acts of the electoral procedure is “conditional on the authentic topic who intends to request them to adjust to this minimal allegation burden”, something that did not happen with respect to the scrutiny carried out in Madrid, where More than 30,000 votes were declared invalid. In this case, the attribution of the last seat in the Madrid constituency depended on 1,700 votes, the difference between those of the PP and those of the PSOE. Had he fallen on the side of the socialists, for the possible investiture of the current acting president, Pedro Sánchez, the vote of Junts would not have been essential, and the abstention of this parliamentary group would have been sufficient.

The ruling emphasizes on this issue that “the isolated fact that the scrutiny shows an adjusted difference between the two candidates in contention for the last seat in a constituency cannot be considered, without further considerations, as a valid reason to urge the review of the null votes, if no indications of irregularity are alleged that call into question the neat observance of the prior guarantees inherent to the electoral process.” The court thus wanted to heal itself, given the risk of widespread claims in the future without well-founded suspicions of errors or irregularities.

The PSOE request for protection stated that the right to passive suffrage has been violated by the decisions not to access the vote count, taken by the Provincial Electoral Board of Madrid, ratified by the Central Electoral Board and subsequently by the Chamber of the Supreme Court litigation. The challenge considered that “a requirement not expressly contemplated in the law, specifically, the requirement to invoke irregularities in the electoral procedure” was demanded of the PSOE.

The unanimity of the Second Chamber in the ruling – after an admission to proceedings that pitted progressives and conservatives – has been possible because the case has served to clarify the court’s doctrine – as the first of these sectors intended – and not to endorse the claim of the PSOE, to which the second of said blocks was opposed. In fact, the judges of the conservative group Enrique Arnaldo and César Tolosa voted against the admission, and the former already drafted a dissenting vote against the first decision in which he stated that “it is indisputable that the Organic Law of the General Electoral Regime (LOREG) ) does not recognize a supposed general and unconditional right to review the null votes not protested in the act of the general scrutiny, such as that claimed by the appellant political party in amparo.”

The importance of the ruling handed down now lies in the fact that it clarifies that in order to demand a review of null votes, at least a “minimum allegation burden” must be provided and that the alleged “irregularity in the electoral process does not necessarily have to be proven by means of full proof, but it will be enough to provide evidence about its existence.”

Subscribe to proceed studying

Read with out limits