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Row between ruling pro-independence parties

Differences on how to tackle suspension of MPs places speaker in the eye of the storm


18 July 2018 04:11 PM


ACN | Barcelona

It was the first major row between the two ruling parties in Catalonia since the new government was formed, and it came after the Spanish Supreme Court ordered the suspension of six prosecuted MPs.

Pro-independence Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) and Esquerra Republicana (ERC) quarreled over how to implement this suspension.

Both parties made their differences clear in the bureau meeting, and the parliament speaker Roger Torrent ended up calling off the plenary, which was to resume on Wednesday.

Junts per Catalunya, led by Carles Puigdemont, accused speaker Roger Torrent (of ERC) of "breaking an agreement" between the parties.

According to JxCat, both ruling forces had agreed on suspending all the involved MPs except for Puigdemont himself, and only for the plenary session which was to resume on Wednesday.

"We regret that parliament speaker Torrent broke the agreement," said JxCat spokesman Eduard Pujol.

Yet sources close to the speaker said there was no agreement, and therefore, Torrent did not fail to fulfill anything. ERC spokesman Sergi Sabrià also denied any agreement and accused JxCat of "lying."

"The main difference was within a group, whose members have even voted differently in the bureau, we cannot solve their internal problems," said Sabrià referring to JxCat.

Junts per Catalunya

Puigdemont's group had accepted a temporary suspension for all involved MPs but the former president himself, the only one not in prison.

The Supreme Court suspended all six officials because the Spanish Penal Code allows it for individuals prosecuted for rebellion and with a detention order hanging over them.

Junts per Catalunya claims that this applies for the five MPs in pre-trial prison, but however not for Puigdemont, as he is free in Germany and a German court rejected rebellion charges for him.

Esquerra's view

Yet Esquerra wants to apply the same solution for all the involved lawmakers. "It is not acceptable that there are MPs of first and second categories, we want to preserve the rights of all the involved lawmakers because they have all been elected," said Sabrià.

"We had a proposal which preserved the rights of MPs, who could keep their seats, and preserved the pro-independence majority."

He also admitted that "trust has been broken" but that they would work to rebuild it.

CUP takes on allies for accepting resolution

Far-left CUP, the smallest pro-independence party in the parliament, criticized those parties that choose to comply with Spanish courts, in a reference to ERC. "Some parliamentary groups have decided to accept a judicial resolution that flagrantly violates MPs political rights," says CUP MP Maria Sirvent.