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Spanish Constitutional Court gives the green light to vote on pro-independence proposal

The Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) will in the end allow the plenary session to put the pro-independence declaration to vote. The TC hasn’t adopted the precautionary measures that the PPC and Ciutadans asked for in order to stop the debate on the ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and CUP agreed proposal and will allow the plenary session to vote on the roadmap towards independence proposed by ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and CUP. They pointed out that precautionary measures are only adopted in “cases of extreme urgency” and that they understand that this is not the case. However, the TC accepted the three writs of protection presented by the Catalan People’s Party, PPC, the Catalan Socialist Party, PSC, and anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans. The magistrates expressed this Thursday in a joint letter that the appeals have been accepted because they “transcend the concrete case” and “raise judicial matters of a relevant social repercussion, with political consequences”. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy assured that if the pro-independence proposal is ultimately approved, the executive itself will appeal. 

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05 November 2015 07:29 PM

by

ACN / Sara Prim

Barcelona (CNA).- The Parliament’s plenary session to vote on ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and CUP agreed pro-independence declaration will in the end go ahead. The Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) has refused to adopt the precautionary measures that the Catalan People’s Party (PPC) and anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans urged the Court to adopt in order to avoid the pro-independence declaration being approved. The magistrates pointed out that precautionary measures are only adopted in “cases of extreme urgency” and that they understand that this is not the case. The magistrates reminded the PPC and Ciutadans that the Parliament is “the natural place for political debates to take place” and that a debate can’t be forbidden before it actually takes place. However, the TC has given leave to proceed with the three writs of protection presented before the court by the PPC, the Catalan Socialist Party, PSC, and Ciutadans. The aim of these petitions was to invalidate the Parliament Bureau decision to proceed with the agreed pro-independence declaration as they considered it to violate fundamental rights of the citizens.


The TC’s magistrates pointed out that adopting precautionary measures and suspending the plenary session, as the PPC and Ciutadans asked the Court to do, is only applicable in “cases of extreme urgency” and they understand that this is not the case. 

Although they admitted that “there is a risk” that the Parliament could approve the pro-independence declaration, a debate can’t be forbidden before it actually takes place. The magistrates reminded the PPC and Ciutadans that the Parliament is “the natural place for political debates to take place” and that “the chamber itself has to guarantee that its actions are carried out within the Constitution”.

The TC’s magistrates considered this Thursday that PPC, PSC and Ciutadans appeals to invalidate the Parliament’s Bureau decision to go ahead with the pro-independence declaration vote “transcend the concrete case” and “raise judicial matters of a relevant social repercussion, with political consequences”. However, the acceptance of these appeals doesn’t imply the suspension of the plenary session, scheduled for next week, during which the declaration will be put to vote. 

Waiting for another possible appeal next week

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy assured in an interview with ‘El Mundo’ newspaper that if the TC doesn’t take these measures and the pro-independence proposal is in the end approved, the executive itself will appeal “a day or two days later”. This potential appeal would imply the automatic suspension of the declaration, as it will appeal to article 161.2 of the Spanish Constitution. According to this, when the central government appeals any autonomic government or parliament’s decision, it is automatically suspended.

A conservative Court

The TC has a clear conservative majority amongst its members. 7 of the 11 magistrates have been selected by the People’s Party, PP, starting with the president, Francisco Pérez de los Cobos, who kept his affiliation to the PP even after being chosen as the Spanish Constitutional Court’s president. 3 of the other 4 were chosen by the Spanish Socialist Party, PSOE and only one, Encarna Roca, was selected after an agreement between the PSC and centre-right coalition CiU in 2012. 

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  • Image of the Spanish Constitutional Court building in Madrid (by ACN)

  • Image of the Spanish Constitutional Court building in Madrid (by ACN)