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Parliament to take Spanish judge to court for blocking presidential bid

Madrid warns speaker: lawsuit could be considered misuse of public funds

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13 April 2018 01:10 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The Catalan parliament bureau has agreed to vote in favour of launching a lawsuit against the Spanish Supreme Court judge Pablo Llarena for perversion of justice, after he blocked the swearing-in of jailed MP Jordi Sànchez as Catalan president. The proposal was put forward by pro-independence parties.

After months without government, the fourth investiture debate was due to start on Friday at 10 am. Yet Llarena dismissed Sànchez’s bid to be voted in as head of government, disallowing him from taking part either in person or by video link.

It’s the second time that the Supreme Court has blocked Sànchez’s appointment. Pro-independence parties recently put him forward for the top spot in the country again, after the United Nations Committee on Human Rights urged Spain to respect Sànchez’s political rights.

Judge Llarena claimed that the UN's statement was non-binding. He argued that there was a high risk of repeated offences should Sànchez become president, which could undermine the constitutional order in Spain. This, although the jailed MP has promised to resign if his party tries to achieve independence through unilateral means.

Madrid warns Torrent: lawsuit could be considered crime

The Spanish government warned Torrent that the lawsuit could be considered misuse of public funds. The Spanish Justice Minister, Rafael Catalá, criticized Torrent's decision. "I think they're making a mistake, trying to intimidate or threaten a judge," he expressed in an interview on Friday morning.

Pushback also came from the unionist Ciutadans party (C’s) the evening before, when they spoke before the press to announce that they, in turn, plan to file a lawsuit against that of Torrent. The C's spokesperson deemed the lawsuit as an “illegitimate use of public funds” which “can be pursued legally.” As a reaction, he vowed C’s would do “everything possible” to fight it.  

In-between-blocs CatECP gives support

The spokesperson for the party known for positioning itself between the pro-independence and unionist blocs, Catalunya en Comú-Podem (CatECP) voiced their support for the lawsuit. Speaking to the press on Friday afternoon, Elisenda Alamany said that her platform "looks positively upon" the lawsuit. She further stated that the position is to "give support" to the lawsuit from a political point of view.

"We would like to know if there's been judicial abuse," Alamany explained. Still, the platform continues insisting that a government be formed as soon as possible, in what they see as a situation of "democratic exceptionality." "It's urgent to form a working government to revert [the current situation] and to move forward." 

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  • Protester carrying a banner with the picture of the Spanish Supreme Court judge Pablo Larena, reading “Prevaricación?” (Perversion of justice) (by Jordi Marsal)

  • Protester carrying a banner with the picture of the Spanish Supreme Court judge Pablo Larena, reading “Prevaricación?” (Perversion of justice) (by Jordi Marsal)