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Socialists see investiture before King’s Day ‘possible’ if Solicitor General submits report on Monday

Government spokesperson says negotiations between PSOE and ERC are "ongoing" and affirms "there is no plan B"

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27 December 2019 03:25 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

The Spanish Socialists are confident in the possibility of investing Pedro Sánchez as the president of the before King’s Night, January 6

Spokesperson for the acting Spanish government, Isabel Celaá, said in a press conference on Friday that if the Solicitor General presented their report on the application of the European Court’s (ECJ) ruling on ERC head Oriol Junqueras on Monday, then there would still be "physical time" to close the agreement with the Catalan pro-independence party and schedule a full investiture debate and vote on January 2, 3 and 5. 

According to Celaá, negotiations with ERC are "ongoing" and the Spanish executive does not contemplate any other scenario of agreements. "There is no plan B," she affirmed, and "the negotiations have not been broken." 

She reminded that the ECJ's judgment "has stated that Junqueras has immunity as a European Parliamentarian since being proclaimed" a winner in the May election, and therefore the Solicitor General is doing a "thorough study" of the situation, "meeting technical and legal criteria."

Celaá has stated that the government has no knowledge of the content of the lawyer’s report or the timing of its release. 

The investiture is pending in the contents of this report, where the Solicitor General will have to state whether or not to free Oriol Junqueras from prison following the ruling from the European Court that the ERC head enjoys parliamentary immunity after being elected to the European Parliament. ERC links any decision to this document.

However the ECJ did not say whether Junqueras should be freed now following the October release of the guilty verdict in the Catalan Trial for which the ERC leader was at the time being held in provisional detention. 

It was then up to the Supreme Court to decide whether or not to grant the pro-independence leader his freedom due to the parliamentary immunity he enjoys as an MEP, or else keep him in jail following his conviction for sedition and misuse of public funds in Catalonia’s 2017 push for independence.

Unionist backlash

Meanwhile, the leader of Ciutadans, Inés Arrimadas, called on some members of the Socialist party to "raise their voices" to "curb the madness" of acting President Pedro Sánchez "pressuring" the Solicitor General. 

In a press conference, Arrimadas criticized Sánchez's "intolerable pressures" for the Solicitor General "to act as Oriol Junqueras's defender," in order to secure the support from ERC and form a government. 

The unionist party leader, who has insisted on the "constitutionalist pact," has asked the PSOE's barons to "stand up" and "make more than a statement": "How can we be dependent on what Junqueras says in prison?" she complained.

Arrimadas has called for Sánchez to let state lawyers work "quietly and with technical criteria."

Why is the EU Court ruling on jailed pro-independence leader key in Spain's presidency deadlock?

The EU court's confirmation of jailed leader Oriol Junqueras' immunity is having a direct impact on Spain's deadlocked presidency, which so far has led to two elections and eight months of an interim Socialist government.

The judges in Luxembourg said that Junqueras should have been freed in June in order to take up his seat as an MEP after being elected to the European Parliament in the May election. Yet, the court did not specify if he should still be freed, because at the time he was in preventive detention and is now serving a sentence.

It is now up to Spain's Supreme Court to decide whether to free Junqueras, and the judges in Madrid have given until January 3 for all sides in the Catalan trial to have their say before they make a decision.

One of the parties is the solicitor general, representing the Spanish government, with the pro-independence Esquerra party believing the Socialists can influence the institution.

Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez aims to stay in power, but he needs Esquerra to get enough support in Congress.

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  • Acting Spanish president Pedro Sánchez in a press conference on Friday December 13, 2019 (by Nazaret Romero)

  • Acting Spanish president Pedro Sánchez in a press conference on Friday December 13, 2019 (by Nazaret Romero)

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