Spanish Court suspends Parliament’s plan for pro-independence referendum
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.
Barcelona (CNA).- The pro-independence forces’ agreed proposal to call a referendum in Catalonia in September 2017 has been temporarily suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC). This Wednesday, the magistrates accepted the Spanish executive’s appeal, which claimed that the plan presented in the Parliament and passed by pro-independence forces governing cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and radical left pro-independence CUP was unconstitutional, since it emerged from the declaration to launch the pro-independence roadmap passed in November and in turn suspended by the TC. Moreover, Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont and Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell have been warned by the judges that any attempt to contravene this suspension should be aborted. The TC’s cautionary suspension arrives only two days before Forcadell faces trial for allegedly violating the Spanish Constitution when allowing the pro-independence debate to take place in the Parliament, last July.
Once the appeal has been allowed to proceed, the TC has up to five months to study it. The magistrates have also notified the Parliament of the decision, which now has 20 days to appeal.
The Spanish Government’s claim considers the resolution passed by ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and CUP to contradict the TC’s resolution which declared unconstitutional the pro-independence proposal approved by the Catalan Chamber in November 2015.
Charges of criminal liability against Puigdemont and Forcadell
The TC has also agreed to hand deliver the resolution notice to the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont and the President of the Catalan Chamber, Carme Forcadell, along with all the other representatives of the Parliament’s bureau and the members of the Catalan executive. The magistrates emphasised their duty to “impede or block” any initiative aimed at ignoring this suspension and warned them of the “eventual responsibilities, including criminal liability” which they may face.
A resolution which emerged from an ‘express suspended’ declaration
The agreed proposal presented by the pro-independence forces and approved in the Parliament on the 9th of November last year aimed “to start the negotiations in order to make the democratic mandate of creating a new independent Catalan State effective” and communicate this to the Spanish State, the EU and the international community as a whole. “The process of democratic disconnection won’t be subject to Spanish institutions’ decisions, particularly those from the Spanish Constitutional Court, which is regarded as discredited and without competences” stated the declaration’s text, which also urged the new government to “obey exclusively those mandates produced” by the Parliament. The declaration to start the independence process obtained the support of the 62 ‘Junts Pel Sí’ MPs and CUP’s 10 MPs, which together have 53% of the 135 seats in the chamber.
Only a month later, and within a record time of only 22 days after the Spanish Government claimed that the declaration was illegal, the TC accepted the appeal and considered that the proposal approved by the Parliament on the 9th of November violated core articles of the Spanish Constitution, such as "the indivisible unity of Spain" and "the subjection of the public powers to the law" and also that it "attacks the Rule of Law". The Catalan Government Spokeswoman, Neus Munté described the TC's resolution as "political" and "predictable" and assured that the credibility of the Spanish Constitutional Court is "almost zero" to the Catalan Government.