Catalan parliament to vote on new speaker with no clear candidate yet known

Socialists were most voted party in May election, while pro-independence groups negotiating to take on top job

The Catalan parliament façade in a picture taken on March 29, 2019
The Catalan parliament façade in a picture taken on March 29, 2019 / Ana Amat Vendrell
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

June 10, 2024 11:00 AM

June 10, 2024 03:59 PM

The Catalan parliament will have its first session after the May 12 Catalan election on Monday, starting at 4 pm. During the seating, members of parliament will anonymously vote on the next speaker and bureau. However, hours before the vote, no clear candidate is yet known.

While the Socialists came on top with 42 seats in the chamber, pro-independence forces added up to 59 representatives and have been negotiating among themselves to take on the speaker position, Catalonia's second-highest ranking position.

The goal of Junts+ and Esquerra Republicana, and far-left CUP, is to have an "antirepression" bureau and hope for left-wing Comuns Sumar to join the potential deal as they prioritize a left-wing leadership.

The session will start at 4 pm and will see MPs voting on the speaker and the parliament bureau members: two deputy speakers and four secretaries.

Taking the top position is crucial as the house speaker decides what topics can be debated and, furthermore, whose presidential bid is considered.

Potential candidates

Political groups will try to form alliances and majorities to take on one of the bureau's positions. Far-right Vox has already announced that it will only back its candidate, but it did not share any name.

For the Socialists, sitting secretary Ferran Pedret could be the next speaker, but nothing has been officially announced.

Pro-independence forces are trying to reach a deal to see Josep Rull, Junts+ spokesperson, as the next speaker. However, a deal with Esquerra Republicana and CUP is required. Rull is one of the Catalan government members who was jailed for his involvement in the organization of the 2017 independence referendum. Rull was pardoned in 2021 by the Spanish government after 3.5 years in prison.

Comuns have already said that they are open to backing ERC, but only if the Socialists are, somehow, part of the agreement. On the other hand, CUP has said that the bureau and the speaker position cannot be led by the Socialists.

The Catalan parliament
The Catalan parliament / Arnau Martínez

How the speaker and bureau are elected

The election of the speaker of the parliament is done by secret ballot.

The 135 MPs will submit a ballot with the name of one MP and if there is a candidate with an absolute majority, 68 votes, he or she will be the speaker of the chamber.     

If no candidate receives a majority, there will be a second round of voting between the two candidates who received the most votes in the first round.   

In this final vote, the candidate with the most votes will become the parliament's speaker. 

Vice presidencies and secretaries 

MPs will also elect two vice presidents and four secretaries to complete the chamber's bureau. 

For the two vice presidents, there will be a round of voting by secret ballot and the two candidates with the most votes will win.  

Then there will be a final round of voting to elect the secretaries, and the four most-voted candidates will be elected.

Vox to appeal decision

Far-right Vox party already has a complaint ready in case that the 'age bureau' (the oldest and younger members of the chamber who control the first vote), allows for MPs Carles Puigdemont and Lluís Puig to vote online.

The reason is that Spain's Constitutional Court had annulled the online voting in the chamber.

Catalan politics 2024 timeline

The first presidential investiture debate must then take place a maximum of ten working days afterwards. The latest possible date for this to happen will be June 25 and 26, as the presidential investiture debate takes place over two days. 

MPs will have two chances to vote on candidacies during this first presidential candidacy investitures; the first of which requires an absolute majority in the chamber, least 68 yes votes, while the second only needs a simple majority, more yes votes than no. 

If no candidate is named president, lawmakers and parties will have two months to start over again and try to gain the sufficient support to name a candidate president. 

If again no candidate is named president after these two months, the parliament will automatically be dissolved and new elections will be called 47 days later. 

Assuming that lawmakers take the maximum permitted time for each stage, then new elections could take place in October

Catalan election results

The May 12 vote saw the Socialists win more seats and more votes than any other party, but they are still far from a majority in the parliament. 

Salvador Illa, candidate for the Socialist Party, announced he would put himself forward for the presidential investiture debate, as a left-wing tripartite between the Socialists, Comuns Sumar, and pro-independence Esquerra is possible. 

Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, candidate for Junts+, came second in the running, with the pro-independence bloc together also falling short of a majority in the chamber for the first time in years. 

Puigdemont has also said he believes there are "options" to put himself forward in the investiture debate. 

The parliament will see its 15th term with 135 MPs, 42 from the Socialists, Junts+' 35, ERC's 20, People's Party's 15, far-right Vox's 11, left-wing Comuns Sumar's 6, far-left CUP's 4, and Catalan far-right Aliança Catalana's 2 seats.