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The PP to urgently reform the law to be able to suspend Mas from office

The candidate for the conservative People's Party (PP) in the upcoming Catalan elections, Xavier García Albiol, presented on Tuesday a proposal to reform the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) Law and make sure that its rulings are adhered to by civil servants and politicians. García Albiol admitted that the plan is especially designed to stop Catalan President Artur Mas’ push for independence, which unionists say is unconstitutional. “It’s a clear message to those who want to break Catalonia away from the rest of Spain: the joke is over”, he warned. The reform will be passed urgently by the Spanish Parliament this month, and will set in place the mechanisms and resources needed to take action against those who don’t obey the Constitutional Court’s decisions. Civil servants or politicians that ignore rulings may face fines or even suspension from office. The Catalan Government spokeswoman described the TC’s reform plan as a decision taken because of the election on the 27th of September, and regretted that it only adds more “repression, threats and fear” to the political debate.

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01 September 2015 07:00 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (CNA).- The candidate for the conservative People's Party (PP) in the upcoming Catalan elections, Xavier García Albiol, presented on Tuesday a proposal to reform the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) Law and make sure that its rulings are adhered to by civil servants and politicians. García Albiol admitted that the plan is especially designed to stop Catalan President Artur Mas’ push for independence, which unionists say is unconstitutional. “It’s a clear message to those who want to break Catalonia away from the rest of Spain: the joke is over”, he warned. The reform will be passed urgently by the Spanish Parliament this month, and will set in place the mechanisms and resources needed to take action against those who don’t obey the Constitutional Court’s decisions. Civil servants or politicians that ignore rulings may face fines or even suspension from office.  


The goal of the PP is to launch the reform as a matter of urgency and to do it before the end of the current Spanish term. Mariano Rajoy’s party has an outright majority in the Spanish Parliament, so the Law will be passed without any problems. Albiol stated that this amendment to the Constitutional Law will work as a barrier to dissuade “anybody from declaring Catalonia’s independence”.

The PP was especially outraged by the 9th of November consultation in 2014, which the conservatives considered illegal and unconstitutional. The formal consultation was suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court, but Catalan President Artur Mas went ahead with a “participatory process” in order to allow citizens to have their say in an informal and non-binding vote. Even this participatory process was later described as unconstitutional and Mas is in fact already facing legal prosecution for his actions that day.

With the reform presented on Tuesday, the Constitutional Court will have the power to fine and even suspend those public servants, politicians and authorities who don’t comply with its rulings. The spokesman of the PP in the Spanish Congress, Rafael Hernando, pointed out that from now on “some people will have to bear in mind that their decisions won’t come without consequences”. As such, the initiative aims to ensure "respect for the rulings of the TC”. "Some institutions have for several years contempt shown for the rulings”, he regretted, adding that “this must end”. “When the rules are not enough to guarantee compliance with the law and the rulings of the TC, it becomes necessary to adapt the rules”, he stated. The bill will be presented in the Spanish Congress on the 29th of September, only two days after the Catalan election on the 27th, considered by many as a ‘de facto’ referendum on independence. The PP expects the Law to be passed during the approval of the budget, planned for mid-October.

Albiol wants UDC and the Catalan Socialist Party to join the initiative

Albiol wants to extend the proposal to other members of the Catalan Parliament, especially to the former coalition partners of Artur Mas, the Christian Democrats of UDC, who recently left the Catalan President’s coalition over their differences regarding the issue of independence. “I want to ask UDC to support the initiative if they are really against a unilateral declaration of independence”, Albiol stated. Regarding the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) Albiol said that now is the time for them to show how “coherent” their position is in regard to Catalonia’s push for independence from Spain.

“Catalonia is not a joke”

The Catalan Government spokeswoman described the TC’s reform plan as a decision taken because of the election on the 27th of September, and regretted that it only adds more “repression, threats and fear” to the debate. Neus Munté replied to Albiol in a press conference in Barcelona, saying that “Catalonia is not a joke” and that the Spanish Government has actually repeatedly failed to obey rulings by the Constitutional Court. 

Munté described the conservative People’s Party’s proposal to reform the TC Law as an “electoral move” and predicted that this modification could actually be declared as “unconstitutional” by the same Constitutional Court that it aims to reform.

Furthermore, Munté found it “surprising” that the PP appeared to be so concerned about disobeying court rulings. To make her point, she listed eleven rulings from the last eight years regarding social services which the Spanish government hadn’t complied to. “It is Spain who fails to comply with the rulings and are neglecting social services, and behind them, people in need, those who suffer the consequences of this”, she stated regretfully.

After Xavier García Albiol stated that “the joke is over”, Munté replied that “Catalonia is not a joke” nor is it simply “the will of the Catalan government and [the] many political and social organisations” that defend Catalonia’s right to vote and decide its political future. “What we are doing is not a joke, it is something really serious and very democratic”, she added.

Munté predicted that the PP’s reform will be framed as unconstitutional because it may allow the suspension of leaders and authorities without a final resolution, which is a “clear violation of the right to defence”. She also assured that the Catalan government won’t change its plans and insisted that they don’t feel they are the target of this reform.

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  • PP's candidate for Catalan elections, Xavier Garcia Albiol, presented a reform to be able to suspend Mas from office

  • PP's candidate for Catalan elections, Xavier Garcia Albiol, presented a reform to be able to suspend Mas from office