Parliament to vote on amending presidency law
On Friday, Catalan MPs will cast their ballots regarding allowing a swearing-in by proxy
Moves are being made as regards investing a new Catalan president – one consequential event will take place as soon as May 4. On Friday, the Catalan parliament is set to vote on amending the presidency law in such a way to allow a candidate to be sworn in at a distance.
This was voted on and approved by party spokespersons, prior to the plenary session which officially began on May 3. The spokespersons rejected a motion by unionist party Ciutadans (C’s) to remove the issue from the order of the day. The motion will be voted on despite the fact that the CGE, a parliamentary consultive body ensuring compliance with Catalan law and Spanish constitution, concluded it to be in violation of the Spanish Constitution in a non-binding statement.
Spanish government ready to challenge amendment
Indeed, in the hours following Thursday’s plenary, Spanish government lawyers already announced they were ready to challenge the eventual amendment to the presidential law in court. Sources from the Madrid executive announced they would make the appeal “as soon as [the amendment] is debated, if it ultimately happens.”
Sources also stated that the Spanish Constitutional Court had notified parliament officials of their “obligation to respect the decisions of the high court.” As soon as the Constitutional Court receives an appeal from the Spanish executive, the amendment to the presidential law would be automatically suspended – a move which could happen within hours of Friday’s session.
An aimed change in parliamentary regulations
The parliamentary consultive body CGE also ruled the proposed move to be in violation with the parliament regulations themselves. Inasmuch, the main pro-independence party in the hemicycle, Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) also vowed to reform parliament regulations within a month, to allow for an investiture at a distance.
This is significant because distance has been one of the main issues at hand when attempting to swear in a new Catalan president. Each official presented for the presidency by the party with the majority in the chamber, JxCat, has been blocked by Spain.
According to Madrid, this has been due to the candidates’ involvement in lawsuits for their role in Catalonia’s push for independence. But more concretely, there’s the roadblock of being able to physically attend the plenary. With the candidates put forth either abroad or in prison, amending the presidency law and parliament regulations could take Catalonia closer to having a new president.
This is, however, a risky move, as it’s far from likely to be accepted by Spain, and may very well also be blocked. As the deadline to appoint a new president is on May 22, this may well lead to the nomination of an alternative candidate. One of the main names brought up currently is Elsa Artadi, Puigdemont’s JxCat party member and spokesperson for the group.
With next steps up in the air, more will be certain following the vote on Friday, and a meeting set for the very next day between Puigdemont and JxCat MPs in Berlin.