María Jesús Cañizares, 17 February 2022
Laura Borràs (r), greeting Roger Torrent (l) in front of Pere Aragonès in the Parliament / EFE
The High Court annuls the processing of two motions for resolutions in favour of “self-determination” by CUP, ERC and JxCat in response to an appeal for protection filed by Ciudadanos.
A reality check for the pro-independence movement. The one that formed the majority in the previous legislature and the supposed “52%” that came out of the polls in the elections of 14F, a year ago. A ruling by the Constitutional Court (TC), to which ‘Crónica Global’ has had access, reminds us that the Parliament represents all Catalans, and not just the pro-independence forces, even if they are in the majority.
This is how the High Court pronounces itself, which annuls two resolutions processed by the Bureau of the Chamber on the occasion of the celebration of the General Policy Debate in September 2019, referring to the exercise of “self-determination” and the amnesty of the prisoners of the 1-O referendum. The magistrates thus accept the appeal for protection presented by the 36 Ciudadanos (Cs) MPs.
Prior to the processing, the second vice-president, Juan García (Cs), and the two secretaries of the Bureau David Pérez (PSC) and Laura Vílchez (Cs) expressed their rejection, but the governing body continued. Ciudadanos and PSC-Units presented their respective motions for reconsideration, which were rejected. It was then that the Ciudadanos parliamentary group asked the Constitutional Court for protection.
Infringement of rights
The magistrates recall that there is abundant doctrine on the illegality of this type of resolution, which has been declared null and void on previous occasions. “The admission of the proposals prevents them, in relation to this parliamentary procedure, from legitimately exercising their representative functions, since, in such circumstances, the exercise of their office would entail not complying with the ruling of the TC and therefore incurring in a serious constitutional offence,” the ruling states. Furthermore, “the right of citizens to participate in public affairs through their representatives (art. 23.1 CE) has been indirectly violated”, they state.
In this respect, the court affirms that “the violation of this fundamental right determines, in effect, that of the rights of the citizens of Catalonia to participate, through political representation, in public affairs (art. 23.1 EC) and affects the proper function of the Parliament of Catalonia, as it represents the people of Catalonia (art. 55.1 of the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia) and not that of certain political forces, even if they are in the majority”.
In this regard, the TC recalls that the Parliamentary Group of Ciudadanos, in the XII legislature of the Parliament, was the force with the greatest representation in the Chamber, with 36 seats, although it was in opposition because the pro-independence forces had formed a coalition government that had obtained the confidence of the majority of the Parliament. For all these reasons, the TC accepts Ciudadanos’ appeal for protection and declares the nullity of the agreements of the Parliamentary Bureau that gave the green light to the processing of the motions for resolutions promoted by the CUP, ERC and Junts per Catalunya.
The ruling has two dissenting votes from the judges Juan Antonio Xiol Ríos and Ramón Sáez Valcárcel. Xiol considers that one of the proposals, entitled ‘Per una resposta de consens davant la sentència del judici al procés’, does not violate constitutional mandates. Sáez understands that neither of the two contemplates a “programme of action” outside the channels of the Magna Carta.
“Triumph of the rule of law
In declarations to ‘Crónica Global’, the parliamentary spokesman for Cs, Ignacio Martín Blanco, affirms that the TC’s resolution “is a new triumph of the rule of law. The Bureau of the Parliament, with Roger Torrent at the head, admitted for processing in 2019 two motions for resolutions of the separatist parties that sought to return us to the days of 6 and 7 of Septiember 2017. From Ciutadans we filed an appeal for protection before the TC, which has given us the reason, which is good news for democracy in Catalonia”.
The TC says that Torrent and the rest of the separatist members of the Bureau,” he adds, “violated the fundamental right to political participation of all citizens, which is articulated through their elected representatives, including the Ciutadans Mps and the rest of the constitutionalist forces that the Bureau tried to silence.
Back to 2017
The spokesperson for Cs affirms that “the TC ruling is important because it confirms that with that admission for processing, Torrent and the Bureau intended to return to the starting point of the fateful days of autumn 2017. Hence the importance of a fierce parliamentary opposition that does not allow even a single outrage of the separatist parties to pass”. In this sense, he affirms that “the pro-independence parties have degraded the institutions so much that some seem to have already decided to give up and let them do whatever they want until they strike again like in 2017″.
The leader of the orange formation refers to the PSC, which in his opinion, “forgets that the previous coup was progressive, that they were reaching flying goals until they delivered the final one, which fortunately failed thanks to the unity of constitutionalism under the leadership of Inés Arrimadas and the action of the judges and courts of this country. Once again, the TC proves us right and stands as a wall of containment and defence of our fundamental rights and freedoms”.