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Spanish Parliament to debate Catalonia’s bill requesting the transfer of referendum powers

The Bureau of the Spanish Parliament has accepted a debate on the Catalan Parliament’s bill requesting the transfer to the Catalan Executive of the powers to organise referendums, using Article 150.2 of the Spanish Constitution. The Bureau, totally controlled by the People’s Party (PP), has not discussed the contents and has only approved requesting the Catalan Parliament to send the bill’s full dossier, the step before putting the bill on the agenda. The motion would be debated in September, although there is a chance it could be rescheduled for June. However, Catalan parties will register an identical bill at the Spanish Parliament to discuss it even earlier, probably in March. The bill was approved by the Catalan Parliament with 87 ‘yes’ votes, 43 ‘no’ votes and 3 abstentions that considered the request was slowing down self-determination.

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21 January 2014 04:50 PM

by

ACN

Madrid (ACN).- On Tuesday the Bureau of the Spanish Parliament accepted a debate on the Catalan Parliament’s bill requesting the transfer to the Catalan Executive of the powers to organise referendums, using Article 150.2 of the Spanish Constitution. The Bureau, which is totally controlled by the People’s Party (PP), has not discussed the contents and has only approved requesting the Catalan Parliament to send the bill’s full dossier, the necessary step before putting the bill on the agenda. The motion would be debated in September, if the current schedule is not altered. However, there is a slim chance that some other motion is cancelled, in which case it would be discussed in June. However, Catalan parties will register an identical bill at the Spanish Parliament to discuss the bill even earlier, probably in March. The bill was approved by the Catalan Parliament with 87 ‘yes’ votes, 43 ‘no’ votes and 3 abstentions that considered the request was slowing down self-determination.


The Spanish Parliament will debate Catalonia’s petition to organise referendums in September. The Catalan request is added to the list of bills sent by Autonomous Community parliaments. The Spanish Parliament debates one of these bills per month, on the first Tuesday of the month. The bills are put on the agenda in order of arrival. Before the Catalan bill, there are 5 other motions already sent that will have to be debated earlier. This makes the Catalan Parliament’s motion scheduled for a plenary session in September, after the summer break and into the next period of sessions, since all the other slots are already occupied. However, sometimes an Autonomous Parliament cancels one of its motions, as happened recently with a bill sent by the Valencian Chamber. If such a thing happened, the Catalan bill would be debated in June, before the summer break.

Catalan parties to manoeuvre for debating the bill earlier

However, considering the urgency the self-determination debate has for a large part of Catalan society, the parties supporting this right refuse to wait for 9 months before debating the bill, especially since all the odds point towards the Spanish Parliament totally rejecting the bill and Catalonia’s self-determination. Therefore, those parties will use their MPs in the Spanish Chamber to speed up the process. MPs from the Centre Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) and the Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) will directly file an identical bill at the Spanish Parliament’s register.

By doing this, the bill filed by CiU, ERC and ICV-EUiA would be debated much earlier, probably in March. However, once this second bill is filed it will also have to be approved by the Spanish Parliament’s Bureau, which is controlled by the PP as it holds an absolute majority. Since January is a month without parliamentary sessions, the Bureau will debate this bill in February. Once accepted, the Spanish Government will have 30 days to issue remarks  and can even veto the parliamentary discussion, but only if it represents a spending increase or a drop in budget revenues, which is not the case.

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  • An image from the Spanish Parliament's plennary room (by ACN)

  • An image from the Spanish Parliament's plennary room (by ACN)