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Spanish Constitutional Court allows Puigdemont’s investiture only if he turns up

After several hours of deliberations, judges decide to ban the deposed Catalan president being sworn in at a distance

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27 January 2018 09:35 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

The Spanish Constitutional Court will allow Carles Puigdemont’s candidacy only if he turns up. After around 6 hours of deliberations, the judges decided not to accept Puigdemont’s bid if it is from Brussels on Saturday evening. Their decision came after the Spanish government challenged Puigdemont’s bid for the debate to pick a new Catalan leader to be held next Tuesday at 3pm.

Puigdemont's reaction

This way the court does not completely accept Madrid's appeal. Puigdemont promptly reacted to the decision. "Even the Constitutional Court rejected the legal fraud that the Spanish government was seeking. More than one person should rectify and make politics once and for all. And if they are unable to do so, they should consider stepping down and give way," he tweeted.

The Spanish government also reacted to the news, by welcoming that the judges do not allow an investiture at a distance, which Madrid brands as "fraudulent."

Puigdemont can only take part in the parliamentary session in person and with a judicial authorization

The court did not decide whether to accept for consideration Rajoy’s cabinet’s appeal. Yet the judges ordered that the deposed Catalan president cannot take part in the investiture debate “by proxy or with another MP representing him.” They also said that if he wanted to be the candidate, he would need a previous authorization by a judge. The Constitutional Court judges also decided that the five MPs in Brussels “cannot delegate their votes” in the investiture debate. 

Rajoy determined to "prevent a fugitive from being sworn in as president"

The session to pick a new Catalan president is to be held next Tuesday, January 30, at 3pm. The only candidate for the post is Carles Puigdemont. The Catalan Parliament president, Roger Torrent, nominated him after having spoken with representative of all the political parties. Yet on Friday Rajoy’s government challenged this decision in the Constitutional Court. The Spanish vice president, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, said that the obligation of Rajoy’s cabinet is to “prevent a fugitive from being sworn in as president” of Catalonia. The move arrived despite the consultive Council of State body rejected going ahead with the appeal. 

Appeal in the European Court of Human Rights?

Some hours before the Constitutional Court’s decision was released, an official for Puigdemont’s candidacy, Together for Catalonia, said that the party would appeal the decision in the European Court of Human Rights, whose HQs are in Strasbourg (France). “We will not propose [for president] a candidate who is not Puigdemont,” said the official. Together for Catalonia was the most voted candidacy within the pro-independence bloc.

The far-left CUP party calls Parliament to "disobey"

The far-left pro-independence CUP party urged the Catalan Parliament president also earlier on Saturday that if the Spanish Constitutional Court stopped Puigdemont’s candidacy, the plenary session to swear him in has to be called anyway. Indeed, one of the CUP MPs, Carles Riera, said that the chamber’s president, Roger Torrent, has to “disobey” in this event. 

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  • The Spanish Constitutional Court on 7 September 2017 (by Tània Tàpia)

  • The Spanish Constitutional Court on 7 September 2017 (by Tània Tàpia)

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