Constitutional Court rejects blocking Catalan independence motion vote

Judges accept appeal lodged by opposition Ciudadanos, Popular Party and Socialists

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Catalan opposition leaders outside the Constitutional Court on Wednesday.
Catalan opposition leaders outside the Constitutional Court on Wednesday.F. Alvarado (EFE)

Spain’s Constitutional Court has unanimously rejected blocking the debate and vote on the motion declaring the start of the independence process due to be held in the Catalan parliament on Monday following an appeal by opposition parties.

Although the court unanimously admitted the appeals presented by Ciudadanos (C’s), the Popular Party (PP) and the Catalan Socialists (PSC), it has refused to suspend the session as a precautionary measure, as the first two groups had requested.

Parliament was the “natural headquarters for political debate” and the result of that debate “should not condition the viability of that debate in advance,” the court said. That is why it believes it is unable to suspend the session. 

The court will now examine the appeal with no fixed deadline. The three parties have all invoked article 23 of the Constitution, which deals with the right to active participation, something they believe the decision to debate the bill on Monday violates.

The central government has already said it will challenge the motion once it is passed in the Catalan parliament

In any case, the Madrid central government has already announced that it will challenge the motion once it is passed in the Catalan parliament. In that case, a suspension occurs automatically when a challenge lodged by the central government is admitted by the court.

Catalan separatist parties are attempting to force the regional parliament into quickly passing a motion that will kick-start the independence process before the session to swear in the new regional premier takes place on Monday.

Last week, the ruling Junts pel Sí separatist bloc and the radical left CUP drafted a motion that calls for the beginning of the process to create an independent Catalan republic. Since then, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, of the PP,  has met with leaders of other mainstream parties, chiefly the Socialists, Ciudadanos and Podemos, in an effort to come up with a coordinated response to this challenge to Spain’s laws.

The Catalan parliament now has 10 days to send the court the documentation about the case and its statements regarding the appeal.

English version by Nick Funnell.

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