spanish constitutional court

Spanish Constitutional Court partially suspends Catalan law on non-binding referenda

May 10, 2017 07:13 PM | ACN

The Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) has unanimously suspended a substantial part of the Catalan law for popular non-binding referenda, approved seven years ago in 2010. In particular, the magistrates have annulled the section which refers to calling a referendum at an autonomic level. They believe that this kind of referendum “is not foreseen in the Spanish Constitution nor in the State’s legislation”. Moreover, the TC has also decided to suspend the creation of the National Transition Advisory Council, a body created through a Catalan Government decree and aimed at beginning the necessary measures for completing Catalonia’s pro-independence process. In this fashion, the TC accepted the appeal presented by the Spanish Government, which claimed that the Catalan law for non-binding referenda was unconstitutional. 

British MPs accuse Rajoy of breaching freedom of speech by prosecuting Forcadell

May 3, 2017 10:01 AM | ACN

The APPG group on Catalonia, created last March in the British Parliament by MPs from the main parties in Westminster, have sent a letter to Spain’s President, Mariano Rajoy, expressing their “concern” over the prosecution of the Catalan Parliament’s president, Carme Forcadell, who faces court “for simply permitting the debate” on independence in the Chamber. The signers consider it “a clear breach of the fundamental democratic right to free speech” and “urge” the Spanish Government “to drop the prosecution”. Forcadell was brought before the court in December accused of disobedience for allowing the pro-independence roadmap to be put to vote among the Catalan MPs on the 27th of July and will face trial again on Monday for the same case.

Spanish Court suspends Catalan independence referendum line items from budget

April 4, 2017 04:14 PM | ACN

The Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) accepted this Tuesday the suit presented by the Spanish Government which claimed that those line items in the 2017 Catalan budget oriented toward calling a referendum this September were illegal. The magistrates, which met in an extraordinary session to address only this matter, unanimously agreed to suspend these budget items for a period of 5 months, which could be extended if necessary. Rajoy’s Executive also wants Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, and the other members of the Catalan Government to be personally notified of the suspension as well as the penal consequences of ignoring it. In particular, the TC suspended two line items: one establishes €5 million for electoral processes and €0.8 million for participation and the other refers to the possibility of calling a referendum with or without the Spanish State's permission.

Spanish Government challenges referendum budget in the court

March 31, 2017 03:35 PM | ACN

The Catalan budget for 2017, which includes an allocation of €5.8 million to carry out the referendum on independence which the Government committed to call next September, has been taken before the court. The Parliament’s legal services already warned on the day the bill was passed that by doing so the chamber could be ignoring the TC. Indeed, the Spanish body called to impede or block any initiative emerged from the pro-independence declaration of the 9-N, which was already suspended.  The pro-independence parties in the Parliament, governing cross-party ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and radical left CUP backed the bill, which besides considering the referendum, it allocates €17.8 billion to social expenditure. The main parties in the opposition, Spanish Unionist Ciutadans, Catalan People’s Party (PP) and Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) announced this Friday that they will join the Spanish Government’s initiative and present an appeal to the bill.

“Political dialogue urgently needed,” says Spanish Constitutional Court President in resignation speech

March 15, 2017 06:49 PM | ACN

The Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) one of the legal bodies responsible for suspending the most initiatives aimed at executing Catalonia’s pro-independence roadmap in the last few years, replaced its president this Wednesday. Francisco Pérez de los Cobos stepped down after nearly four years in office and took the opportunity to call for “political dialogue” . He defended Spain’s unity but admitted that the Spanish Constitution “can’t tackle all the problems derived from the constitutional order, especially those which emerge from the desire of one part of the state to alter its legal status”.  In the presence of the Spanish Minister for Justice, Rafael Català and the four magistrates which took office this Wednesday, Pérez de los Cobos emphasized that dialogue is an “urgent and unavoidable necessity”.

TC suspends referendum resolution and could take further legal action against Forcadell

February 14, 2017 02:35 PM | ACN

The commitment taken by Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, to call a referendum in autumn 2017, regardless of the Spanish Government’s position, has been definitely suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC). Although the body had already ordered a cautionary suspension of the governing party ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and radical left pro-independence CUP joint proposal on this matter, this Tuesday the resolution became definite. “No court decision will change our unequivocal determination to call a referendum this year”, stated Catalan Government Spokeswoman, Neus Munté. She also emphasised that the joint resolution emerged from the democratic mandate of the 27-S Catalan elections. The magistrates also left in the Public Prosecutor’s hands whether to take further legal action against Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, who already testified before Barcelona’s High Court in December for allowing the pro-independence roadmap to be put to vote amongst the Catalan MPs.

Homs during 9-N trial: “We were not violating any law”

February 8, 2017 06:48 PM | ACN

Former Catalan Minister for Presidency and now Catalan European Democratic Party (PDCeCAT) spokesperson in the Spanish Parliament, Francesc Homs, testified this Wednesday before Barcelona’s High Court, during the trial over the 9-N symbolic vote on independence. Homs, who was former Catalan President Artur Mas’ right hand man at the time when the non-binding consultation took place, in 2014, gave his testimony as witness. “I told the Government that we were not violating any law and even less the penal code”, Homs stated and pointed out that the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) resolution wasn’t clear. Coinciding with his declaration, this Wednesday it was made public that Homs will have to appear before the Spanish Supreme Court on the 27th of February, accused of disobedience and perversion of justice when co-organising the 9-N.

Catalan Government receives Spanish Constitutional Court warning on penal consequences of holding a referendum

December 21, 2016 06:30 PM | ACN

The Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) carried out this Wednesday its usual procedure and hand delivered the resolution notice which warns the Catalan executive of the criminal liability of launching the referendum plan. The document emphasised the magistrates’ duty to “impede or block” any initiative aimed at ignoring the TC suspension of the Government’s plan to call a referendum in Catalonia in September 2017. The notice warns Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, Catalan Vice President and Minister for Economy and Tax Office, Oriol Junqueras, along with the members in the Catalan executive of the “eventual charges” which they may face. On Tuesday, the Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, and the members of the Parliament’s Bureau also received the same notice, which was hand delivered by judicial secretaries from Catalonia’s Supreme Court.

Forcadell testifies before the court for allowing debate on independence

December 16, 2016 11:03 AM | ACN / Sara Prim

The Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, testified before the Court this Friday for having allowed a democratic debate on Catalonia’s independence in the Catalan Chamber on the 27th of July. The Spanish Constitutional Court considered illegal her decision to do so and accused her of disobedience and perversion of justice. Forcadell’s prosecution has produced a huge political and civil response not only in Catalonia but throughout many countries in Europe. The institutional support for the Parliament’s President was made clear this morning, when the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, together with the whole Catalan executive, members from radical left pro-independence CUP and alternative left alliance ‘Catalunya Sí que es Pot’ joined Forcadell on her way to the Court, together with hundreds of mayors from all over the territory and former top politicians such as former Catalan President Artur Mas.

Puigdemont: “We will vote, debate and hold meetings”

December 15, 2016 06:29 PM | ACN

The Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) suspension of the Parliament’s plan to call a referendum in Catalonia in September of next year has outraged many sectors of Catalan political and civil society. This Thursday, Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, stated that the TC’s decision “confirmed” the existence of “constitutional populism” in Spain which claims that “Catalans are not allowed to vote”. In response, assured Puigdemont, the Government will simply “apply democracy”. “Catalans have the right to vote, debate and hold meetings, therefore, we will vote, debate and hold meetings”, he stated. The Catalan President also took the chance to express his support and that of the whole executive for the Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, who will face trial on Friday for allowing the pro-independence roadmap to be put to vote in the Catalan Chamber last July.

Spanish Court suspends Parliament’s plan for pro-independence referendum

December 14, 2016 02:02 PM | ACN

The Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) has temporarily suspended the proposal approved by governing cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and radical left pro-independence CUP to call a referendum in Catalonia. The magistrates admitted this Wednesday to proceed with the appeal presented by the Spanish executive in October, which calls for the suspension of the pro-independence group’s proposal approved in the Parliament and considers it to have emerged from the previously suspended declaration to start launching the pro-independence roadmap. The TC judges have also warned Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont and Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell that they must avoid any initiative aimed at contravening this suspension. The TC decision arrives only two days before Forcadell is due to testify before the Court for allegedly violating the Spanish Constitution when allowing the pro-independence debate to take place in the Catalan Chamber, last July. 

Spanish Constitutional Court has 45 pending appeals relating to Catalonia

November 22, 2016 02:29 PM | ACN

“The Spanish Government is maintaining its judicial offensive against the Catalan Government and no one is sitting at the table but the Government of Catalonia”, reported the Catalan Government spokeswoman, Neus Munté, this Tuesday. The statement comes after Catalonia’s Supreme Court (TSJC) notified the president of the Parliament, Carme Forcadell, that she will have to testify on the 16th of December for allowing the pro-independence roadmap to be put in vote on the 27th of July. Forcadell's case and the prosecution of the organisers of the 9-N symbolic vote held in 2014 are not an exception, but rather an example of the monopolisation of the Catalan question in the complaints issued by the Spanish Government to the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC). According to the data offered by Munté, the TC has 18 pending appeals issued by the Spanish executive against Catalan laws and 27 more issued by the Catalan Government for conflicts of competences.

Supreme Court to proceed with case against Parliament’s President for disobedience

November 16, 2016 06:26 PM | ACN

The case against Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, for allegedly disobeying and perverting the course of justice by allowing the pro-independence roadmap to be put to vote on the 27th of July will proceed. Catalonia’s Supreme Court (TSJC) refused this Wednesday the appeal presented by the Parliament and emphasised that the crimes Forcadell are accused of are not related to “the public expression of thoughts or ideas” but to “disobeying” a ruling from the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC), which it defined as “a key piece in the architecture of democratic and advanced states”. The document, written by Judge Maria Eugènia Alegret, also urges the Parliament to present documentation to the inquiry in order to “prove that the facts described in the lawsuit constitute a crime” and also to help “the defence of the accused”. 

Spanish Government cannot impose return of bullfighting on Catalonia, say dissenting magistrates

November 9, 2016 07:32 PM | ACN

Bullfighting was effectively banned in Catalonia in 2012, after a Parliament Act was approved in 2010. On 20th of October last, however, the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) annulled the prohibition. Eight of the eleven magistrates at the TC considered that the Catalan Parliament “exceeded its competences” and “restricted the citizens’ rights and freedoms” when banning bullfighting. This week, the identities of the three dissenting magistrates have been unveiled. The judges Adela Asúa, Fernando Valdés Dal-Ré and Juan Antonio Xiol recalled that the Spanish Constitution does not give the Government the power to “displace” exclusive regional competencies, such as the regulation of public performances and animal protection, and therefore defend that the Spanish executive cannot impose the return of bullfighting on Catalonia. 


Overturning of bullfighting ban in Catalonia outrages 37 MEPs from different parties and countries

October 27, 2016 07:41 PM | ACN

The possibility that bullfighting could return to Catalonia by imposition of the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) has outraged 37 MEPs from five different parties. The signatories of a joint declaration, promoted by Catalan Eco-Socialist ICV MEP, Ernest Urtasun, point out that “animal torture can’t be considered as a cultural expression” and describe bullfighting as “an unfair activity, which is sadistic and despicable”. The initiative is supported by MEPs from Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Holland, Austria and the Catalan MEPs Josep Maria Terricabras (ERC), Ernest Maragall (ERC), Ramon Tremosa (PDC), Javi López (PSC) and Francesc Gambús (Independent). On the 20th of October, the TC annulled the prohibition to host bullfighting in Catalonia after considering that the Parliament “exceeded its competences” and “restricted the citizens’ rights and freedoms” when banning bullfighting in 2010.