CATALAN INDEPENDENCE BID

PP announces reform to allow Constitutional Court to punish Mas

Party wants to give body powers to fine or suspend those who do not comply with rulings The move is aimed at blocking the Catalan premier's independence plans

Catalan PP candidate Xavier García Albiol in the Tuesday meeting.
Catalan PP candidate Xavier García Albiol in the Tuesday meeting.Claudio Álvarez

Spain’s ruling Popular Party (PP) on Tuesday presented an urgent proposed bill in Congress that would give the Constitutional Court powers to fine or suspend elected officials and civil servants who fail to comply with its rulings.

Though applicable to all public administrations, the initiative has been devised to deal with a possible unilateral declaration of independence from Spain in Catalonia.

The proposed bill is a “clear message” to those who want Catalonia to break away from Spain that the “joke is over,” said Catalan PP candidate Xavier García Albiol

“The joke is over,” said Xavier García Albiol, the top candidate for the Catalan PP in the September 27 regional elections, in reference to premier Artur Mas’s independence plans as he registered the proposed bill with Rafael Hernando, the spokesman for the PP congressional grouping.

Mas and his Junts pel Sí coalition – an alliance of pro-sovereignty parties and civic organizations – is casting the election as a de facto referendum on independence, and is threatening to declare unilateral independence if the group wins a large enough majority.

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The proposed bill aims to give the Constitutional Court powers to punish authorities and individuals who fail to comply with its decisions and includes the possibilities of suspending them from their duties and imposing fines of between €3,000 and €30,000.

The urgent nature of the initiative means that it will bypass normally mandatory reviews by the judiciary, the State Council and the Prosecutor’s Council, and could be passed before the end of the current legislature, which is due to end with this fall’s general election, the date of which is yet to be set.

García Albiol said the proposed bill was the “guarantee that nobody can fail to comply with the rulings of the Constitutional Court and is a very clear message” to those who want Catalonia to break away from the rest of Spain.

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