Spanish court bans Catalan parliament session

Constitutional Court ruling attempts to block a potential declaration of independence in Catalan chamber on Monday

Spanish Constitutional Court in Madrid (by ACN)
Spanish Constitutional Court in Madrid (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

October 5, 2017 05:23 PM

Spain's Constitutional Court has suspended a session of the Catalan Parliament set for Monday, so as to prevent a debate on secession. Earlier in the week, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont had suggested that a declaration of independence could come as early as next week, after political parties have had a chance to debate the results of the October 1 referendum.

Thursday’s ruling by the top court upholds a challenge from Catalonia's PSC socialist party, which opposes secession, rather than from Spain’s central government. Arguing that allowing the parliamentary session would amount to "a breach of the constitution", the court ruling upholds the PSC claim that the debate would “violate the rights” of its party members.

The court also said that Catalan Parliament President Carme Forcadell and other members of the parliamentary bureau will be personally notified of the suspension. The court warns them of the “potential liabilities, including the criminal” that could arise if they do not adhere to the suspension. The Catalan Parliament and government now have five days to appeal the ruling.

“We will facilitate democratic debate”

Earlier in the day, in an interview with the Catalunya Ràdio station, Parliament President Forcadell said she did not know whether a declaration of independence would be debated next week in Parliament. However, she insisted that the parliamentary bureau she heads “will, as always, facilitate the democratic debate of all ideas and proposals.”

The results of Sunday’s referendum have still to be published, although the organizers claim  2.2 million people cast their ballot, with 90% voting in favour of independence. Spanish police used violence in attempts to stop the unilateral referendum, with many people forced to find other places to vote. The police disruption and unorthodox nature of the vote have contributed to the result taking so long to be counted.