The credit of Fernando Grande-Marlaska has been exhausted. Such is the weariness of the minister in his two and a half years as head of the Interior portfolio that already appears first on Moncloa’s list to leave the Government of Pedro Sánchez in the next crisis, as this newspaper has learned from sources from the Executive.
The situation is already untenable and Marlaska has run out of supporters within the coalition government. The last and most decisive scandal was the judge’s sentence Celestino Salgado that forced him to reinstate the colonel Diego Pérez de los Cobos, “illegally” dismissed as head of the Madrid Civil Guard Command.
The Interior Minister committed a “misuse of power” – so says the sentence – by decreeing the dismissal of the colonel after he repeatedly refused the request of his political superiors. They insistently demanded information about his investigations as judicial police in the criminal procedure instructed by the judge Carmen Rodriguez-Medel on the celebration of the International Women’s Day march on March 8, 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic was already widespread.
That sentence could suppose, worth the redundancy, its political sentence. And it is that as EL ESPAÑOL has learned, Marlaska no longer has someone to defend him in Moncloa. His management in front of the Interior does not like, he hardly speaks with the president and his relationship with some ministers, such as Margaret Robles, head of Defense, is broken. Among other things, Robles was a supporter of the promotion of Pérez de los Cobos.
It must be borne in mind that constant dialogue between the Interior and Defense is essential for the proper functioning of a Government, since some of its tasks – see, the appointment of Civil Guard commands – are concomitant.
For this reason, in the event of a hypothetical reshuffle of the Government caused by a crisis, Marlaska would have, at this time, all the ballots to leave the Ministry of the Interior.
Just three years ago, Fernando Grande-Marlaska he was a magistrate who enjoyed good consideration in the political, judicial and police world, as well as by the associations of victims of ETA. Since June 18, 2018, when accepted the order of Pedro Sánchez to be Minister of the Interior, he has squandered that good reputation.
Government sources confirm his “change of side”, since the then judge flirted with the Popular Party when this was the formation occupied by the Government of Spain. It was, in fact, the PP who proposed the current minister as a member of the CGPJ after 10 years as an instructor in the National Court. In addition, Marlaska himself maneuvered to occupy a position of responsibility designated by the Executive of Mariano Rajoy: either as Ombudsman or as State Attorney General.
Now, however, he claims to be “progressive.” Some of the people who have worked closely with the current Interior Minister highlight traits of “frivolity” and a lack of iron principles. “He only belongs to the Marlaska club,” say sources consulted here.
In his last appearance in the Madrid campaign he came to accuse the PP of being a “criminal organization”, relying on the Gürtel ruling – the same one that inspired the motion of censure that, finally, led him to the Executive. A criminal attribution that he later claimed had been “misinterpreted”, but was widely criticized by the opposition for considering it inappropriate for a minister and, above all, for a former judge.
Marlaska has become one of the members of the current Government most attacked by PP, Vox and Ciudadanos, who have demanded his resignation on numerous occasions and have come to ask for his disapproval in the Cortes. The last, on the occasion of the harsh sentence of the Central Court of Contentious-Administrative number 8 of Madrid for the dismissal of Pérez de los Cobos.
“But you don’t realize that you are already terminated and you haven’t even heard about it? He is politically dead, they just need to sign the signature, “snapped the popular Fernando Martínez-Maíllo in the Senate.
Judges and police
Marlaska entered the judicial career in 1987 and during his more than 30 years of activity he highlighted his intense fight against ETA terrorism. Not in vain, ordered the arrest of Arnaldo Otegi and the members of the platform Young Independentists. Such a running for office against the ETA world.
Therefore, it is striking that in 2021 he will be a figure with such low consideration in the judicial and police world and especially, among the victims of ETA. But the truth is that Marlaska’s reputation began to fall precisely in the environment of the Government’s partners, on account of the sentences of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to the Spanish State for not properly investigating the complaints of alleged torture of pro-ETA members .
These omissions would be attributable to Marlaska himself, since he was then a central investigating judge in the National High Court.
The first conviction, in 2016, occurred when Strasbourg determined that Spain had not carried out a “rigorous and effective” investigation of a complaint for alleged torture presented by Javier Beortegui, arrested in January 2011 on charges of belonging to Ekin, one of the organizations linked to ETA. The last one dates from last January.
But the final blow to his reputation in the world of the judiciary has come from the hand of the internal order of the Ministry of the Interior endorsing the kick in the door as a police method to intervene illegal parties during the pandemic. A measure described as “disproportionate” by the judges’ associations and criticized by the police unions.
To make matters worse, the labor representatives of the Police also say they are fed up with their management of the Ministry of the Interior. As they confessed to EL ESPAÑOL last month, they consider that Marlaska is “a toy” in the hands of Pedro Sánchez and that all their decisions have a marked political and / or ideological motivation.
Victims of ETA
But if he is criticized as a judge and by the police, nothing is more paradigmatic of his fall from grace than the null position it currently enjoys among associations of victims of terrorism. Striking, at least, in the case of a magistrate who fought vehemently against ETA terrorism.
Many are the factors that have led to this rupture. The most decisive, his weekly visits by ETA prisoners to prisons near the Basque Country. Convicted of terrorism who, in some cases, have never shown repentance and who have not collaborated with the Justice to resolve pending cases and which will soon expire.
For this, the Association of Victims of Terrorism has accused the minister of showing more “empathy” for the terrorists than for the victims.
Their last disagreement took place last March, when the Government of Spain organized an event in which a steamroller crushed 1,400 guns seized from terrorist organizations. This, before a deployment of cameras and dozens of media.
That day, Maite Araluce -president of the AVT- approached, together with his advisor Miguel Folguera, the Prime Minister and Marlaska to ask them “An explanation for the approaches” of ETA members “that every Friday generate so much pain in our group.” He got no response from the minister.
For all of the above, Marlaska’s discredit is absolute and now extends to all areas that concern his performance as Minister of the Interior. Several of his colleagues in the Council of Ministers consider him burned before public opinion and that is why they already anticipate his departure in the event of a government crisis.