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Spanish Government insists on "immediately" appealing against the Catalan Law on Consultation Votes

On Friday Spain's Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, warned that the Catalan Law on Consultation Votes will be "automatically suspended" the moment the Spanish Government files an appeal against it. Furthermore, the Deputy PM added that such an appeal will be filed "immediately" after the law is approved by the Catalan Parliament. However, she recognised that the Catalan Government could act in a faster way and issue the decree calling for the self-determination vote – scheduled on the 9th of November – before the Spanish Executive has filed the appeal. In any case, Sáenz de Santamaría highlighted that once the appeal is filed, both the law and the decree will be cancelled. Furthermore, she insisted on the obligation to respect the Constitution and the current legal framework, which is what provides the offices of those taking decisions in Catalonia and, ultimately, guarantees democracy.

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29 August 2014 09:22 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- On Friday, Spain's Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, warned that the Catalan Law on Consultation Votes will be "automatically suspended" the moment the Spanish Government files an appeal against it. Furthermore, the Deputy PM added that such an appeal will be filed "immediately" after the law is approved by the Catalan Parliament. However, she recognised that the Catalan Government could act in a faster way and use the new law to issue the decree calling for the self-determination vote – scheduled on the 9th of November – before the Spanish Executive has filed the appeal. In any case, Sáenz de Santamaría highlighted that once the appeal is filed, both the law and - if already issued - the decree will be put on hold and temporarily cancelled, waiting for the Constitutional Court to take a decision on the issue. Furthermore, she insisted on the obligation to respect the Constitution and the current legal framework, which are what provides the offices of those taking decisions in Catalonia and, ultimately, guarantees democracy, she said. However, many experts in Catalonia have highlighted that the Spanish Government, which is run by the People's Party (PP), is making a restrictive and Spanish nationalist interpretation of the Constitution.


The Catalan vote could fit in the current legal framework

With an open attitude and the necessary political will, considering that the Constitution states (Article 2) that Spain is formed by "nationalities and regions" and that Catalans have recognised the right to vote about their relationship with Spain through a referendum, such a self-determination consultation vote could take place. On top of this, Catalan experts have underlined that the PP holds an absolute majority in the Spanish Parliament and has directly appointed the majority of the members of the Constitutional Court. The legitimacy of this Court as an impartial referee is therefore deeply questioned within Catalonia, and it is even more questioned considering the verdict it issued in 2010 against the Statute of Autonomy that had been approved 4 years earlier through a binding referendum. Therefore, the PP controls the Executive and the Legislative powers at a Spanish level and it has a definitive influence on the Constitutional Court, which decides what fits into the Constitution and what not.

"Beyond the law, there is no democracy", replies the Spanish Government

In the press conference held after the weekly Cabinet meeting (the first one after the summer holidays' break), Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría stated that, according to Article 161.2 of the Spanish Constitution, the appeal filed by the Spanish Government against a resolution or any measure "of any Spanish territory" means the "automatic suspension" of such a resolution or measure once the Constitutional Court accepts the appeal. "I want to remind everyone of this", she stressed. In this way she confirmed that they have already decided to file such an appeal "immediately" after the Catalan Parliament approves the Law on Consultation Votes, which would be the legal base to call November's self-determination vote.

However, the Spanish Deputy PM also asked "not to cross the bridge before we get to it", although she had confirmed that the Spanish Government’s appeals against a law has not yet been approved. Sáenz de Santamaría said that "the people in charge of the Catalan Government and Parliament should make a reflection on the Constitution and the law they are planning to approve". In this vein, she underlined that "all political leaders are bound to the legal framework" and "all those who have spoken [about these law] are in their offices precisely because they have honoured the Constitution and its development, which is a Statute of Autonomy". "Therefore, the current legal framework is what backs them" in their current positions, she highlighted. "Beyond the law, there is no democracy", she concluded.

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  • The Spanish Deputy PM, in green, entering into La Moncloa's press room this Friday (by X. Vallbona)

  • The Spanish Deputy PM, in green, entering into La Moncloa's press room this Friday (by X. Vallbona)