Judge denies jailed Catalan VP to attend Parliament
Oriol Junqueras' appeal for transferral to Catalan prison in order to be closer to relatives also rejected
Oriol Junqueras will not be able to attend the opening session of the new term in Catalan parliament on January 17. The Catalan deposed vice president, who has been in jail for over two months, was denied a permission to be present in the first plenary sessions of the chamber as an elected MP. He made an appeal on Wednesday to the Spanish Supreme Court in which, apart from asking for permission to attend the parliament's opening session, he also requested a transferral to a Catalan prison in order to be closer to his relatives. Yet the judge also denied this on Friday.
It is for Parliament bureau to decide whether they can delegate vote, says judge
Junqueras was hoping to attend the debates in the chamber in order to vote with the independence bloc. Without his vote and that of the other seven elected MPs who are either in prison or in Brussels, the pro-independence parties would not be able to use the majority of seats they got in the election in the upcoming votes. On this point, the judge’s ruling says that it is for the Parliament bureau to decide whether to allow them to vote through a representative and how to go about it.
At least one MP in Brussels would need to be replaced to ensure a pro-independence majority
This means Junqueras and the other two jailed MPs, Joaquim Forn and Jordi Sànchez, might be able to vote by proxy, which would give the pro-independence parties 65 MPs – five are in Brussels. The unionist parties and Catalonia in Common, which does not stand with either bloc but is against independence, also add up to 65 MPs, meaning that if nothing changes, at least one of the representatives in the Belgian capital would need to be replaced.
While the judge does not deny him voting through a representative, he rejects the right of Junqueras to political representation. The ruling reads that political representation can only be denied to convicts or people going through a judicial process and those “part of or linked to an armed group, terrorists or rebel individuals.” As Junqueras and the other Catalan deposed government members are accused of ‘rebellion’, he is included in the latter group.