Hemicycle of the Parliament of Catalonia, in a file image. Massimiliano minocri
The Constitutional Court has directed a new warning to the Parliament of Catalonia to prevent it from processing proposals that imply “violating the constitutional and statutory order”, and has upheld the appeal for amparo filed by 32 deputies of the Ciutadans Parliamentary Group in the Chamber. The reason for the challenge was the decision of the Parliamentary Board, adopted in October 2019, consisting of admitting for processing the proposed resolution “in response to the Supreme Court ruling on the events of October 1” formulated by the groups from ERC and Junts per Catalunya and the CUP-Crida Constituent parliamentary subgroup. The initiative advocated for the right to self-determination. The ruling did not have unanimous support, as magistrate Ramón Sáez, from the progressive sector, considered that the right violated was that of the proponent groups, which were prevented from defending his initiative against the condemnation of the pro-independence leaders.
The sentence – of which the magistrate César Tolosa, of the conservative bloc, has been a rapporteur – considers that the Board of the Parliament of Catalonia once again “violated the constitutional and statutory order” with said resolution. The court mentions that the Bureau also accepted the amendments submitted by the proposing groups. And it considers that, when it made both decisions, the chamber’s governing body was aware that “it was failing in its constitutional duty to abide by what was resolved by this court, that is, that the Board processed the initiative and admitted the amendments knowing that that there were resolutions of this court that prevented them from being carried out.”
Ciudadanos maintained, in turn, that with the admission of the proposed debate, their right to exercise representative office under conditions of equality —established in article 23.2 of the Constitution— was violated, in relation to the right to participation of citizens in public affairs through their representatives, in accordance with the first section of the same precept. Cs alleged that the proposals to respond to the Supreme Court ruling on the process were also contrary to several sentences previously handed down by the Constitutional Court. Therefore —they added— as parliamentarians they were in the position of not participating in the debate on these proposals, thereby abandoning their functions, or else participating in the session knowing that it was illegal.
The ruling considers that the Board of Parliament should have effectively prevented the debate on the proposed resolutions, and that by not doing so, it damaged the core of the representative function (ius in officium) of the appellant deputies. The court argues, in short, that there was thus an infringement of their fundamental rights, which determines the estimate of the claim filed and the nullity of the expressly challenged acts.
Judge Ramón Sáez voted against the sentence, who believes that the Constitutional Court is unduly expanding the content of the fundamental right to exercise the representative function of the plaintiff deputies, to whom the admission for processing of the proposals of other groups it only forces them to intervene in the debate. Sáez adds that with this ruling the guarantee body is sacrificing the fundamental right of the proposing deputies, because it prevents them from submitting their initiatives to deliberation and defending them in the chamber. The magistrate considers that the sentence implies “an unacceptable protection of the parliamentary function, by expelling from the political debate relevant issues such as the form of State, criticism of the acts of the Head of State and the subject of sovereignty, substantially affecting the principle democratic”.
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