Parliament bureau accepts delegated vote of MP in Brussels
Decision makes appointment of a new president easier before deadline expires on May 22
The two Catalan MPs who are abroad will be able to vote in the upcoming parliament sessions, including in a potential debate to appoint a new president. The Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, currently in Germany waiting for his extradition process to unfold, was granted a delegated vote last month while in pre-emptive prison. This Tuesday the Parliament bureau greenlighted another delegated vote for the deposed minister and MP Toni Comín, in Brussels in the middle of another extradition process.
For three months the appointment of a new president for Catalonia has been blocked not only by the Spanish judiciary, which has prevented swearing-in sessions for Puigdemont, and jailed senior MPs Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Turull. The parliamentary composition and the atypical circumstances of some MPs have not made an investiture of a new leader easy either.
The pro-independence parties kept the majority in the chamber after the December 21, 2017 election with 70 out of 135 seats against 65 representatives of the remaining parties. What’s more, in the pro-independence front, the close allies Junts per Catalunya and Esquerra added up to 66 MPs, with the latter claiming it would support any bid of the former. The pro-independence, anti-capitalist CUP party, with four seats, also has a clear stance: abstention against any bid for president unless the candidate is Puigdemont, who they would vote ‘Yes’ to. That means that a likely result of a swearing in vote is 66 Yes votes, 65 No votes and 4 abstentions, which is enough for the bid to succeed.
While the Spanish judiciary has never opposed the delegated vote of the 5 MPs in Spanish prisons, judges did not look set to let vote with the same mechanism for the two MPs abroad.
Yet now the situation is different. Comín and Puigdemont are not only claiming that they are in exile and, thus, unable to be in Barcelona because they risk being jailed. They are both in extradition processes and one of the precautionary measures set on them is that they cannot leave their current countries of residence, Belgium and Germany. They are hoping that no parties or courts oppose these arguments. Otherwise, their resignation as MPs would be the only alternatives should they want to swear in a president by May 22, when a snap election would be automatically called if Catalonia has still has no leader.