Speaker proposes suspending parliament activity over Pau Juvillà case

Far-left pro-independence MP was stripped of his seat by electoral authority but chamber head has so far refused to enforce ruling

CUP MP Pau Juvillà, right, and parliament speaker Laura Borràs, left (by Marta Sierra)
CUP MP Pau Juvillà, right, and parliament speaker Laura Borràs, left (by Marta Sierra) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

February 1, 2022 02:29 PM

Parliament speaker Laura Borràs has announced that the chamber bureau will propose suspending all activity to parliamentary groups as a response to the Pau Juvillà case. 

Juvillà, an MP for the left-wing pro-independence CUP party, was stripped of his seat by the electoral authority in January following a High Court ruling in December in which he was found guilty of disobedience for not removing yellow ribbons from his office in the Lleida council during an election period.

Now, the parliament speaker has proposed that activity in the chamber be suspended until a resolution to the case can be reached. The proposition was made to the various political forces of the chamber, and now a representative committee (known as Comissió de l'Estatut del Diputat in Catalan) will have to respond to the request from the chamber head. 

Borràs has asked that all sessions scheduled are suspended until Juvillà's case is resolved. 

When the High Court ruling came out in December, Borràs vowed to not take action to remove Juvillà, who is also a parliament bureau member, from the chamber until the Supreme Court rules on the appeal that has already been brought forth against the ruling.

The case against Juvillà

Juvillà's case dates back to the 2019 municipal election period, when Juvillà was a Lleida city council member, and he did not remove yellow ribbons from the CUP office in the town hall. 

Since late 2017 following the referendum deemed illegal by Spain, yellow ribbons have come to signal solidarity with the formerly jailed independence leaders as well as those who have moved abroad to avoid being prosecuted for their actions. 

Ciudadanos, a center-right party that is staunchly against splitting with Spain and that used to be Catalonia's largest opposition party, lodged a complaint against Juvillà with the Electoral Board for displaying what they described as partisan symbols during an electoral period.

Despite this, on April 3, 2019, the then-councilor refused to take them down in an act of defiance that led to disobedience charges. The yellow ribbons were eventually taken down by Mossos d'Esquadra police officers. 

The public prosecutor had requested an 8-month disqualification from public office as well as a €1,440-fine.

Because Juvillà became an MP in the Catalan Parliament following the February 14 elections, the case had to be tried in the High Court. 

Ex-president's yellow ribbon disqualification

Juvillà is not the first politician to face a similar sentence due to yellow ribbons; in fact, former Catalan president Quim Torra was twice charged with disobedience for hanging symbols in solidarity with pro-independence figures from the government headquarters in Barcelona during election campaign periods.

In September 2020, Spain's Supreme Court upheld the December 2019 Catalan High Court ruling disqualifying Torra for 18 months, the first yellow ribbon ruling against him, effectively removing him from office and handing the presidency to then-vice president Pere Aragonès.