Constitutional Court suspends bill to remotely swear in president
Puigdemont bid blocked as presidency law amendment put on hold while judges consider Spanish government appeal
Spain’s Constitutional Court has suspended the amendment to the Catalan presidency law passed last week in the Parliament. The automatic suspension of the law came into effect when the judges met on Wednesday evening to consider the appeal against the amendment presented by the Spanish government. As long as the law is suspended, the modified legislation cannot be used to remotely swear in Carles Puigdemont as Catalan president. The Court also warned parliament speaker Roger Torrent that he will face "criminal charges" if he doesn't respect the suspension.
On Wednesday morning, an extraordinary session of the Council of Ministers met in Madrid and decided to challenge the amendment in court. Following the meeting, a spokesman confirmed that the Spanish government would appeal the modification that was passed in the Catalan Parliament to allow Puigdemont to be reinstated as president from Germany, where he is awaiting a decision on his extradition to Spain.
A previous attempt to swear in Puigdemont from a distance was also blocked in January when the Constitutional Court ruled that the presidential candidate must attend his investiture in the Catalan chamber in person, and could only do so after receiving permission from the court. As a result, the Catalan parliament speaker Roger Torrent decided to postpone the session.
With Wednesday’s suspension, Puigdemont is now forced to give up his bid if he does not want to incur charges of disobedience. As the most voted party in the pro-independence camp, which has a majority in the Catalan parliament, Puigdemont’s Junts per Catalunya must put forward an alternative candidate. Once Torrent has formally nominated a candidate, the speaker is likely to call a swearing-in session for this weekend or next week.