Madrid 22 January 2020
The first vice president of the Government, Carmen Calvo, said Wednesday morning that the reform of the Criminal Code proposed by the PSOE in this term “is not part, at all” of the dialogue table with Catalonia, agreed by the president of the Executive with ERC to achieve the abstention of the Republicans in the investiture, nor will it be addressed at the meeting of the Chief Executive, Pedro Sánchez, with that of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, or with the rest of the autonomies. “The reform of the Criminal Code is a legislative instrument that will not be subject to any negotiation, the only thing that will be submitted to the parliamentary debate,” Calvo said in an interview on the SER network. “There [in Congress] we will transact, negotiate and try to reach a majority,” he said. The reform of the Criminal Code requires an absolute majority of the Chamber, so the PSOE would need more votes than those obtained by Pedro Sánchez to be invested. In order to achieve the necessary 176 votes, it would be enough with the support of its partner, Unidos Podemos (35), Esquerra Republicana (13), JuntsxCat (8), PNV (6) and the CUP (2), since among all they add 184 votes .
The Executive wants to promote a reform that includes the review of the crimes of sedition and rebellion, and in which it contemplates a reduction of the penalties for which Catalan independence leaders comply with the sentence after the Supreme Court ruling for the process. In that proposal, commissioned by Pedro Sánchez to the Minister of Justice, Juan Carlos Campo, consent will also be addressed in sexual relations and new environmental crimes. This is a measure that socialists can present alone, since it is not included in the agreement with Unidos Podemos.
The vice president explained that it is a reform that is not so urgent “as necessary.” “There are criminal types in our country that are not up to the law compared in Europe,” he said. “We, as a political party, have always had in our government action and within the legislative reform projects that we will make the modification of the Criminal Code, simply because we think that we must adjust democratic behaviors, assumed in the daily life of Spain, to criminal types that in some European ruling like the German warned us that they sounded strange, “said Calvo.
“Europe has sent us messages that there [in the Criminal Code] something needs to be changed,” he insisted. Although she has not expressly cited it, Calvo seemed to refer to the ruling of the German court on the former escapee of Spanish justice, Carles Puigdemont, who refused to extradite him for rebellion because he considered that in his case there was no key requirement to consider that there has been a crime of “high treason”, the equivalent of the rebellion according to the German penal code and which can lead to up to 30 years in prison.
The Executive is studying a joint reform of the crimes of sedition and rebellion, because both figures are “complementary”, say government sources. Among the options considered, according to those same sources, is to reduce the penalty of sedition – which could favor the independence leaders currently in prison for that crime – but, at the same time, reformulate and harden the crime of rebellion, what would be relevant in the event that the Generalitat or any other public institution tried again what the Catalan Government consumed in 2017, a unilateral declaration of independence. Sanchez also does not rule out to typify the crime of illegal referendum. The spokeswoman, María Jesús Montero, made it clear on Tuesday that the president “does not give up promoting the measures he promised in the campaign”, alluding to this proposal.