Spain's Constitutional Court cancels online voting in Parliament for exiled MPs

Junts+ representatives abroad may be blocked from voting on chamber bureau after May's election

Former minister Lluís Puig speaks at a Catalan election campaign event in Argelers
Former minister Lluís Puig speaks at a Catalan election campaign event in Argelers / Nico Tomás
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

June 5, 2024 03:11 PM

June 5, 2024 03:50 PM

Spain's Constitutional Court has annulled the right of the Catalan MP Lluís Puig, who left Spain in 2017 after the independence referendum, to partake in votes in the Catalan parliament online. 

Wednesday’s resolution could also affect former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont’s right to vote on Monday when lawmakers will gather in the chamber to elect a new chamber speaker and bureau

Both Junts+ politicians have been elected as MPs for the new term, and they will need to ask for permission to vote remotely on Monday. 

The Constitutional Court annulled the right unanimously, but did not cancel any of the votes in which Puig has participated in the last term.

Junts+ reacted quickly to the announcement. The secretary general of the pro-independence party, Jordi Turull, denounced the court's interference in Monday's vote.

In a message to X, Turull criticized that "Spanish parties always have the ace of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court to counteract the results of the elections."

Why the Constitutional Court's ruling changes the vote? 

In the Catalan election on May 12, the Socialists won more seats and more votes than any other party, but still fell far short of a majority in the parliament.

There are currently two main candidates: a government led by Socialist leader Salvador Illa with the support of pro-independence Esquerra and left-wing Comuns, or a government led by Puigdemont with the support of Esquerra and the abstention of the Socialists.

Both options have a slim majority, and some parties have vetoed each other, but before any candidate can try to become president, the parliament's speaker and bureau must be decided.

The Constitutional Court's decision complicates the pro-independence majority in the vote: if Puigdemont and Puig cannot vote online, the pro-independence bloc will have 57 seats, the same number as the Socialists and the conservative People's Party combined. 

On Monday, before the vote, the interim board will be constituted, with the oldest member of the chamber, Agustí Colomines of Junts+, in charge. 

This body will be faced with the dilemma of whether to implement the decision of the Constitutional Court or to let Puigdemont and Puig vote online regardless of the court's ruling.