Spanish PM threatens legal action against proxy vote decision
Unionist parties condemn parliament bureau allowing MP abroad to delegate vote in Catalan chamber
Spanish president Mariano Rajoy has threatened legal action in response to the parliament bureau’s decision to allow an MP fighting extradition in Brussels to delegate his vote in the Catalan chamber. “We will study all legal action so as to prevent decisions that go against the current law,” he told the press on Tuesday. Former minister Toni Comín joins deposed president Carles Puigdemont in being allowed to cast his parliamentary vote by proxy.
Yet, Rajoy insisted that letting Comín vote in the chamber from Brussels “makes no sense” and he said the priority is to “recover political, economic and social normality” in Catalonia. Later in the day, the Catalan branch of Rajoy’s People’s Party issued an official appeal in the Catalan parliament, asking the bureau to reconsider its decision on the basis that it goes against parliamentary regulations.
Proxy vote “not for fugitives,” says Cs
Meanwhile, the head of the unionist Cs party, Albert Rivera, called on Rajoy to challenge the bureau’s decision in the Constitutional Court. On Twitter, Rivera pointed out that delegating votes is reserved for illness or unavoidable absence “and not for fugitives from justice.” At the same time, the head of the Catalan branch of the Cs party, Inés Arrimadas, called on the Spanish government to “wake up” and “act” against the decision.
"The Catalan Parliament must be sovereign and has to be the one to choose a Catalan government"
Natàlia Sànchez · CUP MP
The other unionist party in the Catalan chamber, the PSC socialist party, condemned the bureau’s decision and a spokeswoman also said they intend to officially demand the parliamentary body to reconsider. For the spokeswoman, allowing Comín, and before him Puigdemont, to vote by proxy goes against the rulings of the Constitutional Court. The court’s rulings "clearly say that those with an arrest warrant issued against them cannot delegate their votes," she said.
ERC urges investiture “the sooner the better”
Naturally, there was a different reaction in the pro-independence camp, as Comín’s and Puigdemont’s votes are vital for its majority in the chamber. ERC, Comín’s party and the main political ally of Puigdemont’s JxCat party, welcomed the decision but a spokesman stressed the need for JxCat to act quickly in proposing a candidate to swear in a president and form “an effective” government. “Time is also important,” said the spokesman, who added his party “would like to see an effective swearing in the sooner the better.”
The other pro-independence party in the Catalan chamber, the far-left CUP, also expressed its support for the bureau’s decision. “The Catalan Parliament must be sovereign and has to be the one to choose a Catalan government,” said a spokeswoman. In reference to the decision about Comín, the spokeswoman welcomed it because she said her party sees it as guaranteeing the “rights of all MPs to participate politically,” according to the December 21 election results.
CatECP calls for new government
As for the CatECP left-wing coalition, which does not align with either the pro-independence or unionist camps, a spokeswoman said her party backed the bureau’s decision, as it always supports the defense of MPs political rights. However, she also put pressure on the pro-independence parties to form a government quickly so as to avoid a fresh election. “They now have everything the need to form a Catalan government,” she said.