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New Spanish Constitutional Court setback for pro-independence declaration

Spain’s Constitutional Court (TC) has approved the appeals presented by Spanish Unionist ‘Ciutadans’, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and the Conservative Catalan People’s Party (PPC) in November in relation to the pro-independence declaration approved by the Parliament. The three parties presented writs of protection and considered that the pro-independence forces’ agreed declaration to start building a new country violated citizens’ right of participation and that of the parliamentary representatives, as the Spokesperson Bureau was convened before PPC constituted themselves as a parliamentary group. This Tuesday, the magistrates in the TC partially upheld the appeals. The content of the pro-independence forces’ agreed declaration was already suspended by the TC in December, and declared it unconstitutional and, therefore, invalid. 

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07 June 2016 02:51 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (CNA).- The appeals presented last November by Spanish Unionist ‘Ciutadans’, Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and the Conservative Catalan People’s Party (PPC) calling for the suspension of the Parliament Bureau’s decision to pass the processing of the pro-independence declaration have been accepted. Spain’s Constitutional Court (TC) unanimously approved this Tuesday three rulings which partially uphold the appeals and claim that the right of the parliamentary representatives was violated, as the Spokesperson Bureau was convened before PPC constituted themselves as a parliamentary group. This Tuesday’s resolution was in relation to the procedure, as the pro-independence forces’ agreed declaration was already suspended by the TC in December, only 22 days after the appeal presented by the Spanish executive was accepted, which made the resolution the fastest in the TC's history.


All three petitions were presented before the pro-independence proposal was approved by the Catalan Chamber. Thus, the writs of protection presented to the TC called to review the decision of the Parliament’s Bureau to process the proposal and put it to vote. The appeals urged the TC to cancel this decision and claimed that citizens’ right of participation and that of the parliamentary representatives has been violated, as the Spokesperson Bureau was convened before PPC constituted themselves as a parliamentary group. This Tuesday, the magistrates at the TC found in their favour and approved three rulings which uphold the appeals. 

The TC only accepts that the rights of the parliamentary representatives were violated,  on the grounds of  the article 23 of the Spanish Constitution, as the PPC group hadn’t yet been constituted. PPC, PSC and ‘Ciutadans’ also called for the TC to stop the processing of the pro-independence declaration. This is the appeal which hasn’t so far been accepted. The plenary session was allowed to take place and the declaration was later suspended by the TC.

The three parties also regard the pro-independence declaration as an attempt against Spain’s unity. “The constitutional precepts regarding Spain’s territorial organisation” depend on the TC’s decision, stated the text of PSC’s petition. 

PPC and ‘Ciutadans’ went a bit further and urged the TC to adopt precautionary measures and suspend the declaration “immediately” as they consider the situation to be “of extraordinary gravity”. The magistrates already dismissed this possibility soon after the writ of protection was presented.  

TC already suspended the pro-independence proposal

The content of the pro-independence forces’ agreed declaration was already suspended by the TC in December, and declared it unconstitutional and, therefore, invalid. The TC has made its decision within a record time, only 22 days after the appeal presented by the Spanish executive was accepted, which makes this resolution the fastest in the TC's history. Then, magistrates considered considered that the agreed pro-independence proposal approved by the Parliament on the 9th of November violated core articles of the Spanish Constitution, such as "the indivisible unity of Spain" and "the subjection of the public powers to the law" and also "attacks the Rule of Law".The Catalan Government Spokeswoman, Neus Munté described the TC's resolution as "political" and "predictable" and assured that the credibility of the Spanish Constitutional Court is "almost zero" to the Catalan Government.

The TC's resolution warned that the Spanish Constitution is "the supreme law" and pointed out that the sovereignty comes from Spain's "unity". On the 33 pages which compound the resolution, the magistrates assured that the declaration violated five articles of the Spanish Constitution and two of Catalonia's Statute of Autonomy and admit that although the text is only a declaration "it could generate its own legal effects".

PPC calls for Forcadell resignation

Catalan MP and president of PPC’s Parliamentary group, Xavier García Albiol, called for the “immediate resignation” of the Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, in view of the TC’s resolution. "Mrs Forcadell, as the highest ranking official [in the Parliament] allowed the declaration to go forward” he stated and celebrated that “in the end, the Court put the Parliament’s President in her place”.

According to the PPC leader, the Parliament’s Bureau “violated the MPs’ rights” by processing the pro-independence declaration, adding that he considered its attitude “proper of an authoritarian regime”. “This resolution shows that in Catalonia, when it comes to the pro-independence process, parliamentarian activity and the Government’s political actions are absolutely perverted and manipulated” he stated. Albiol also pointed out that “by violating the right of the PPC’s MPs the rights of those citizens who are not pro-independence, are also violated”.

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  • PPC's leader, Xavier García Albiol, Ciutadans' leader, Inés Arrimadas and PSC's leader Miquel Iceta, presenting their appeals before the TC last November (by ACN)

  • PPC's leader, Xavier García Albiol, Ciutadans' leader, Inés Arrimadas and PSC's leader Miquel Iceta, presenting their appeals before the TC last November (by ACN)