Catalonia?s autonomy may be significantly cut this week

Spanish Constitutional Court may finally decide this week on the Catalan Statute of Autonomy. More than three years after its approval via referendum, the Catalan supreme law may be cut by a court dominated by conservative and Spanish nationalist judges.

CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

June 21, 2010 04:26 PM

Madrid (CNA).- Today may be the day that the Constitutional Court will issue its most significant sentence since its creation. Or sometime this week. The court has to decide on the constitutionality of the Catalan Statute of Autonomy, which was approved and entered into force more than three years ago. The Catalan supreme law was written and approved following all of the Spanish Constitution’s procedures, but the content is where Spanish nationalists found the problems which they appealed to the Constitutional Court. This was three years ago. In all this time, the Court has not been able to decide, showing a power game spectacle and raising a wide range of criticism and provoking great controversy. Besides, the Constitutional Court is in an extremely weak position: 5 of its 12 members should have been renewed almost 3 years ago and one has been put aside by the Conservatives. Furthermore, the Court has been influenced by the entire political spectrum and the magistrates have very well known ideologies. This is the court that will decide the future of Spain’s political model, the State of the Autonomies.

Today, the magistrates have to meet to decide on the sentence of the Statute of Autonomy and the appeals of the Catalan Parliament and the Catalan government on, respectively, the Constitutional Court declaring itself incapable to issue a sentence and the liberal magistrate who was put aside by the conservatives being able to vote the sentence.

The Court arrives at this stage in an extremely weak position with 4 magistrates having expired mandates of almost three years, one put aside from the sentence, another one dead, and all of them being the subject of wide criticism from all parties. There have been 6 votes on the sentence, 6 attempts to decide without reaching any consensus. Today, the Court has to meet again and rumours affirm magistrates will vote on the last project of sentence, written by the Court’s president.

Rumours say that today is the day that magistrates will not leave the room without a sentence. However, to start, they have delayed the beginning of the meeting for 1 hour. It was supposed to start at 10.30 and it has started at 11.30. A Court with its credibility much below of the acceptable level may decide today on Catalonia’s present and future, and on Spain’s political model approved after Franco’s death.