Parliament passes resolution protecting jailed MP's rights
The three presidential candidates are behind bars after Spanish judiciary blocked their bids
The Catalan parliament holds a new plenary session on Wednesday to debate protecting the political rights of the three presidential candidates, including their right to be appointed as head of government, after their bids for president were blocked by the Spanish judiciary.
While the deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont is in custody in Germany awaiting a decision on his extradition, both Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Turull are incarcerated in the Madrid region. They all face criminal charges of rebellion.
The resolution protecting the political rights of Puigdemont, Sànchez, and Turull was approved with the votes of the three pro-independence parties, which have a narrow majority in the chamber: Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), Esquerra Republicana (ERC), and far-left CUP.
Unionist parties criticized the pro-independence bloc. “The resolution presented by pro-independence parties includes several falsehoods, such as presenting Carles Puigdemont as president,” said Inés Arrimadas, the leader of Ciutadans, the largest party in the chamber.
“The resolution presented by pro-independence parties includes several falsehoods, such as presenting Carles Puigdemont as president”
Inés Arrimadas · Ciutadans leader
The plenary session in parliament comes a day after the United Nations accepted for consideration Puigdemont's appeal for protection of his political rights. The UN’s Council of Human Rights will now consider the deposed president's request, which condemns the violation of the Catalan leader's right to run for public office, as well as his right of association and peaceful political expression.
Earlier in the day, Puigdemont's JxCat party requested permission for him to vote by proxy. Other pro-independence leaders who are currently in jail have been allowed to delegate their vote to colleagues in previous parliamentary debates. Yet, the parliament bureau will not decide on the matter on Wednesday.
Appointing Puigdemont, again on the table
The detention of Puigdemont in Germany has prompted his party to propose him as presidential candidate again, after his bid for office was temporarily suspended last January when the Spanish Constitutional Court blocked his election at a distance.
"We're the party of the president [Puigdemont] and we'll do everything we can to protect his legitimacy," said Gemma Geis, a spokesperson for Junts per Catalunya, the largest pro-independence party in the chamber.
Puigdemont's new bid for office was also backed by CUP, with only 4 seats in parliament but crucial for pro-independence parties to have a majority. "We ask for an investiture debate in order to appoint Puigdemont," said the party leader Carles Riera, who promised to assume all consequences derived from an election which would very likely prove controversial.
ERC labeled Spain as an "authoritarian" state, and accused it of making it impossible to apply the results of the election last December, when pro-independence parties held on to a parliamentary majority. Yet, they did not refer to the possibility of electing Puigdemont despite Spain's opposition.