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Speaker vows ‘bold’ response if court blocks presidential bid

Catalan chamber head hopes judge will allow jailed MP Jordi Sànchez to attend investiture debate at UN’s urging

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10 April 2018 11:50 AM

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ACN | Barcelona

Should the courts prevent presidential candidate Jordi Sànchez from attending Friday’s investiture debate in Parliament, the chamber “will act with all political and legal force,” said Parliament speaker, Roger Torrent, on Tuesday. In a television interview, Torrent vowed that the Catalan chamber would respond “to defend the fundamental and political rights of MPs,” if the Supreme Court judge in charge of Sànchez’s case once again refuses to let the jailed activist out of prison to attend the parliamentary debate.

Yet, Torrent was confident that the judge will not turn down Sànchez’s request this time, since the UN Human Rights Committee last month formally urged the Spanish authorities to respect Sànchez’s political rights. “I do not understand how something so obvious could be refused,” said Torrent. What’s more, the speaker said that allowing the candidate to attend the chamber, for the judge, “is a golden opportunity to rectify and to not continue violating the rights of Jordi Sànchez and other MPs.”

Meanwhile, Torrent completely ruled out the possibility of seeing out the deadline for the investiture of a new president in order to automatically trigger fresh elections. After previous candidate Jordi Turull failed to get enough votes to be sworn in last month, MPs have until May 22 to pick a president. If the chamber misses the deadline, an election would automatically be called for mid-July. “It is a scenario that we have to avoid,” said Torrent, who added that “elections would mean we have not been capable of reaching agreements.”

 

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  • Catalan parliament speaker Roger Torrent (by ACN)

  • Catalan parliament speaker Roger Torrent (by ACN)