Decision to bar jailed Catalan MPs from congress splits political opinion

With pro-independence parties to petition parliamentary bureau to reconsider, unionist leaders welcome ban and vow to "remain vigilant"


Oriol Junqueras takes his seat in Spain's Congress
Oriol Junqueras takes his seat in Spain's Congress / Daniel Wittenberg

ACN | Barcelona

May 24, 2019 05:23 PM

The decision by the bureau of the Spanish congress on Friday to suspend the four jailed Catalan leaders who became Spanish MPs after the April 28 general election provoked plenty of reaction in political circles.

Oriol Junqueras, one of the MPs suspended and the head of the pro-independence Esquerra party (ERC), responded by pointing to Sunday's European election, in which he is standing as a candidate for a seat in Brussels.

"They have suspended us in Spain, but they won't be able to do it in Europe," said the former Catalan vice president, who added that "a political prisoner entering the European Parliament is the best way to denounce Spain's repression."

In fact, sources in Junqueras' party announced later on Friday that ERC intends to officially petition the congress bureau to reconsider its decision to suspend the MPs on the grounds that they are on trial for rebellion in the Supreme Court.

The other pro-independence party affected by the ban, Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), which saw three of its MPs barred, also said it will call on the bureau to reconsider, describing the suspension as a "blow to the rule of law."