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Spanish Constitutional Court confirms suspension of Puigdemont and jailed leaders as MPs

As a result of the measure that was first decided in July, pro-independence parties 'de facto' lost their majority in Parliament

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13 December 2018 01:25 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The Spanish Constitutional Court has confirmed the suspension of Carles Puigdemont and five pro-independence jailed leaders as MPs.

The former Catalan president, as well as Oriol Junqueras, Josep Rull, Jordi Turull, Jordi Sànchez, and Raül Romeva were temporarily stripped from their seats as MPs in July by the Supreme Court.

The Spanish criminal law provides that if an individual is being prosecuted for terrorism or rebellion, they may be suspended from public office until their verdict is out. 

On Thursday, the Constitutional Court rejected an appeal to provisionally overrule the Supreme Court’s decision from July, saying that it has “legitimacy.” Yet it still has to take a final decision over the issue.

The judges also reminded that this is not a final barring from office, but only after the outcome of the trial, when the Supreme Court will decide whether to make it final or lift the measure.

Past tension in the pro-independence bloc

In mid-July, the pro-independence parties struggled to agree on a united response to the suspension, and so the Parliament speaker decided to call off sessions until October 2, to give them time to find common ground – to the opposition's outrage.

After some tension in the independence bloc in autumn, the Esquerra party MPs affected by the suspension (Junqueras and Romeva) accepted being replaced by colleagues in plenary sessions without giving up their seats, while the Junts per Catalunya representatives (Turull, Rull, Sànchez, and Puigdemont) did not accept being substituted, despite not being able to vote.

As a result, only 30 out of the 34 MPs of Junts per Catalunya take part in votes, which means the pro-independence bloc has ‘de facto’ lost the majority in the chamber, which they achieved by a slim margin in the December 2018 election.

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  • The Spanish Constitutional Court in 2017 (by ACN)

  • The Spanish Constitutional Court in 2017 (by ACN)