Spain's main parties agree to renew judges' governing body after five-year deadlock

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's ruling Socialist Party (PSOE) and the main opposition People's Party (PP) have reached a deal to renew key judicial institutions, including the judges' governing body, after five years of deadlock, they both said on Tuesday.

The deal between the country's two main parties to reform the judicial system's legal framework paves the way for other agreements on appointments to top positions such as the governor and deputy governor of the Bank of Spain.

The 20-member council that picks Spain's judges, known by its initials CGPJ, has been at the heart of a back-and-forth between PSOE and PP over the past five years, as each side claimed the other sought to exert political control over the judiciary and curtail the independence of judges.

The CGPJ's mandate expired in December 2018 and its members have been acting in a caretaker capacity since. They must be confirmed by a three-fifths supermajority in the lower house.

After last year's general election, PSOE and PP have 257 seats combined in the 350-seat chamber.

In December, Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and PP leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo agreed to ask the European Commission to mediate in the negotiations.

Justice Minister Felix Bolanos and the PP's negotiator, Esteban Gonzalez-Pons, signed the deal alongside EU Commission Vice President Vera Jourova on Tuesday.

The last major agreement between the country's mainstream parties was in 2017, when the PSOE voted in favour of the controversial order to depose the regional government of Catalonia after the region's failed attempt at secession.

(Reporting by Belén Carreño in Madrid; Writing by David Latona; Editing by Emma Pinedo and Matthew Lewis)