Catalan MP loses seat in the Spanish Parliament for allowing symbolic vote on independence
Former Catalan Minister for Presidency and Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT), Francesc Homs, left his seat in the Spanish Parliament this Wednesday in compliance with the Spanish Supreme Court sentence which bans himfrom public office for 18 months. The magistrates found him guilty of disobedience for allowing a symbolic vote on independence to take place on November 9, 2014, despite a Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) suspension. On a press conference right after having received the notice, Homs said that it was not only and MP who was banned from the Spanish Parliament “but thousands of citizens who trust a person through democratic means”. Former Catalan President, Artur Mas and former Catalan Ministers Irene Rigau and Joana Ortega were also fined and banned from public office for the same case.
Madrid (CNA).- Former Catalan President Artur Mas’ right hand man, who is currently Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT) MP in the Spanish Parliament, left his seat this Wednesday. Francesc Homs had to renounce his position due the ban from public office for 18 months he was sentenced to by the Spanish Supreme Court for allowing a symbolic vote on independence in 2014. Former Catalan President, Artur Mas and former Catalan Ministers Irene Rigau and Joana Ortega were also fined and banned from public office for the same case. According to Homs, the court’s decision proves that in Spain “supporting certain ideas in a democratic and peaceful way has penal consequences”, he lamented on a press conference, right after having received the notice. He said that it was not only him who was banned from the Spanish Parliament “but thousands of citizens who trust a person through democratic means”.
According to the court, Homs was fully aware of ignoring a Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) ruling when allowing the non-binding referendum in 2014. A crime which “can’t be ignored by criminal law”, the magistrates said.
The Prosecutor had requested a much more severe sentence and wanted Homs to be banned from holding public office for 9 years. He said Homs “didn’t suspend any of the articles which allowed the consultation to take place and which were accountable to the Department of the Presidency” which Homs led at that time. The document emphasizes that the former Catalan Minister for Presidency and current Catalan European Democratic Party (PDCeCAT) spokesperson in the Spanish Parliament was “absolutely aware” that “by doing so he violated the mandatory compliance of Spanish Constitutional Court’s decisions”.
However, during his testimony before the Spanish Supreme Court, Homs admitted to “all the acts” he was accused of “and even more”, but disagreed that they “constitute a crime”. Homs insisted that the resolution from the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) suspending the 9-N vote “was not concrete”. Moreover, he assured that the executive “had no other option” than to allow the symbolic vote to take place, since “ideological freedom and freedom of speech were at stake”.
Former Catalan President banned for two years
Former Catalan President Artur Mas has been sentenced to a two-year ban from holding public office for allowing the 9-N symbolic vote on independence in 2014. Barcelona's High Court found him guilty of “disobedience” and is also asking him to pay a fine of €36,500. Former Vice president Joana Ortega and former Education Minister Irene Rigau have also been banned from taking public office for a period of 1 year and 9 months and 1 year and 6 months. They will have to pay fines of €30,000 and €24,000, respectively.
The trial over the 9-N, which started last february, has been considered a political one by many public representatives and gathered outrage amongst Catalonia’s civil society. According to Mas, is “the success” of the 9-N, in which more than 2.3 million citizens expressed their opinion about Catalonia’s political future, what brought it before the court. “What a pity and what a mistake, what a terrible mistake”, he said before the court.