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Parties urge speaker to act against 'sexist insinuations' in parliament

Majority of chamber groups make formal complaint against unionist MP for "intolerable" comments about female colleague

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28 November 2019 02:07 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

"Intolerable," "chauvinistic" and "sexist" are the accusations leveled at an MP from the unionist Ciutadans party (Cs), in a formal complaint to the parliament bureau submitted jointly by a majority of political parties in the Catalan chamber.

The parliamentary head of the Cs party, Carlos Carrizosa, was accused of making "sexist insinuations" in a speech during Wednesday's session, with the complainants calling on speaker, Roger Torrent, to take action against Carrizosa, even "disciplinary" measures.

The incident that sparked the outrage of the chamber's pro-independence and leftwing parties came at the end of the session, when Carrizosa, who had berated the government over corruption allegations, turned his attention to female MP, Aurora Madaula.

After a speech by Madaula condemning sexist violence, Carrizosa asked her to talk about "the morsels taken by CatDem foundation and the Palau de la Música when her friend, Mr. Colomines, was director," referring to Agustí Colomines and the corruption investigation into the institution.

Accusations and counter-accusations

Carrizosa's comment drew a rebuke from speaker Torrent, who reminded the Cs MP: "In this chamber we don't ask explanations from female MPs, in other words women, about the activities of their friends or partners, but about what they themselves have done."

That led Carrizosa to counter that it was Torrent who was being sexist by coming to the defense of a female MP: "The tone you used is sexist, because we were talking about friendships, of different people, and you talk about couples; that's sexism," he said.

Madaula asked Torrent for permission to respond to Carrizosa, but the speaker denied her request, pointing out that the chamber's regulations did not allow MPs to intervene in parliamentary question sessions, but said she could present a formal complaint.

Criticism and support online

Yet, that was not the end of the affair, as apart from the complaint submitted by the pro-independence JxCat, ERC and CUP parties, and the leftwing PSC and CatECP parties, the spat was taken online, beginning with an exchange between Torrent and Carrizosa.

On Twitter, the parliament speaker justified his rebuke of the Cs MP, saying: "Attacking a female MP for the actions of her partner is a show of sexism that I'm not prepared to allow, whatever the party they belong to."

As for Carrizosa, he replied to Torrent on the social media platform: "It's scandalous that you once again use your post as parliament speaker to cover up the shameful corruption of your pro-independence partners."

Yet Carrizosa came in for criticism online, with Madaula tweeting that his "level of sexism is disgraceful and reprehensible," while the parliamentary head of JxCat, Albert Batet, called the comments "intolerable" and warned the party would make a complaint.

Political colleagues also showed support for Madaula, such as JxCat MP in the Spanish congress, Laura Borràs, who tweeted: "Solidarity with Aurora Madaula and colleagues affected by the Cs' vomit in parliament."

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  • Ciutadans' Carlos Carrizosa speaking in the Catalan Parliament on November 27, 2019 (by Sílvia Jardí)

  • Ciutadans' Carlos Carrizosa speaking in the Catalan Parliament on November 27, 2019 (by Sílvia Jardí)

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