THE CATALAN QUESTION

Rebel Catalan Socialists lose more powers, but not their party membership

Marina Geli, Joan Ignasi Elena and Núria Ventura stripped of spokesman positions “They are still PSC deputies, but only formally,” says party official

PSC leader Pere Navarro declined to make a statement after leaving the meeting.
PSC leader Pere Navarro declined to make a statement after leaving the meeting.ALBERT GARCÍA

The Catalan Socialists (PSC) are doling out more symbolic punishment to the three rebel party members who were suspended from all executive duties after voting against the party line on the issue of the self-rule referendum last week.

Marina Geli, Joan Ignasi Elena and Núria Ventura are now losing the spokesman positions they held on the culture, health and childhood committees of the regional assembly.

However, PSC leaders stopped short of expelling the three mavericks from the party. The trio will continue to receive their paychecks as regional deputies.

“They will only get their money, they can vote whichever way they will,” said one high-ranking PSC official on Tuesday morning. “They are still PSC deputies, but only formally. They don’t represent the party in any way.”

Party leader Pere Navarro left the regional assembly around 1pm without making any statements. PSC spokesman Maurici Lucena explained that the decision to take all responsibilities away from the rebel deputies is provisional. Yet on Thursday, Lucena had announced that he would be demanding that Geli, Elena and Ventura step down after they voted in favor of a motion to ask Spanish Congress for permission to hold a referendum on self-rule for the region.

Besides providing evidence of a division within the Catalan Socialists, who officially defend a federal state structure with more powers for Catalonia but not outright independence, the incident has also affected the primaries to choose a mayoral candidate for upcoming elections in Barcelona. The head of the PSC’s municipal group, Jordi Martí, has announced his intention to run for office but warned that “if there is a single expulsion, I will not be running.”

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