Consultative body greenlights challenge to law to swear in Puigdemont

Path for Spanish government to take legal provision to the Constitutional Court cleared


The headquarters of the Council of State in Madrid (by Roger Pi de Cabanyes)
The headquarters of the Council of State in Madrid (by Roger Pi de Cabanyes) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

May 7, 2018 03:15 PM

The Council of State, a senior advisory body in Spain, greenlighted the Spanish government’s bid to challenge in court the Catalan law that would allow Carles Puigdemont’s appointment as Catalan president at a distance. This is a mandatory step before Mariano Rajoy’s cabinet can challenge the provision in the Spanish Constitutional Court. As soon as the law is published in an official journal, Rajoy’s cabinet will be free to appeal it in the court. This procedure could unfold in the coming hours or days.

It is highly likely that the Spanish Constitutional Court will accept the appeal for consideration, which would mean that the law is automatically suspended until a final ruling is made. The final decision is likely to take months. This would end Puigdemont’s hopes of being reinstated, as the deadline to pick a new president ends on May 22. If there is no MP sworn in by that date, Catalans will head to polling stations again.

After last December’s election, the pro-independence parties kept their majority in the chamber, with Puigdemont’s Junts per Catalunya among them getting the most votes. He was the party’s candidate for president despite being in Brussels and threatened with imprisonment should he return to Catalonia.

Law amendment

Yet, the Spanish Constitutional Court ruled that he could not be sworn in by proxy in January. In response, the Catalan Parliament passed an amendment to the presidency law last week, enabling a candidate to be appointed to the post at a distance. That’s why JxCat has decided to make a further attempt to swear in Puigdemont, using the “possibilities” that this amendment provides, according to the party.