Catalan Parliament to declare the Spanish Constitutional Court incompetent

Parliament President considers waiting time on Catalan Statute for Autonomy to be unbearable

Violeta Sugranyes

May 27, 2010 03:47 AM

Barcelona (CNA).- The Catalan Parliament will present a report asking that the current Spanish Constitutional Court be declared incompetent for judging the Catalan Statute of Autonomy if magistrates with an expired mandate are not renewed. The process against the text ought to be stopped until the court regains its legitimacy being renewed. The members of Parliament believe the Constitutional Court’s actions to be unlawful because the mandate of four of its members expired almost three years ago and one member passsed away two years ago. The reactions of the rest of the Catalan political parties have been immediate.
Catalan Parliament President, Ernest Benach, said “we have come to a point where we have to exercise legitimate defence because we believe the situation is unsustainable”. This report appears shortly after José Montilla, President of the Catalan Government, appeared before the Spanish Senate asking for the renewal of the Constitutional Court.

The report declares that the Court is now dysfunctional, especially when what is being judged is a Statute of Autonomy approved by a legal referendum voted by the Catalan people. It also emphasises the “lack of necessary conditions” that a court should have in order to be independent and impartial. The Catalan Members of Parliament also believe that the constitutional principle that declares that members of the Constitutional Court should be renewed has been “clearly violated” and that this “seriously affects” the legitimacy of the Court.

Artur Mas, leader of Convergència i Unió (CiU), the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Party leading the opposition, said that “although the renovation of the CC is necessary, it is clearly not enough”. He added “what CiU is worried about is an adverse sentence, not if the Court’s magistrate is called A, B or C”. Alicia Sanchez-Camacho, head of the Conservative People's Party in Catalonia (PPC), continues to disapprove of the Catalan Socialist Party´s (PSC) actions. However, she did not make clear if her party will propose other names to renovate the Constitutional Court as the two already proposed by the People’s Party are not backed by any other political force.

The Left Catalan Independentist Party (ERC) called the renovation process of the Court “surreal”. Dolors Camats of the Catalan Eco-Socialist Party (ICV) applauded the Parliament’s report and defended a united Catalan force in its efforts to “initiate the reform of the Constitutional Court law in the Senate”. Albert Rivera, President of the Anti-Catalan-Nationalism Party (Ciutadans) said “the Catalan government itself should be declared incompetent”.