The Constitutional Tribunal is going to analyse the case brought by the Spanish government against the President of the Parliament, Carme Forcadell, for what it considers a failure to comply with a ruling which prohibited the any session regarding the constituent process this Monday. Thus the judicial dispute between the Spanish state and the Catalan institutions has entered into a new phase based on the reform passed by PP in the autumn of 2015 which gave the Constitutional Tribunal powers to suspend the functions of public representatives or impose fines on them without even having to listen to the parties and without the need for a trial. It is a highly irregular procedure which violates the principle of the separation of powers, the pillar of the legal state, as it leads to the Constitutional Tribunal to act as the judge and one of the parties and without the possibility to defend the other affected party.
The appearance yesterday of the interim Vice-President of the Spanish government suggested that the government is unconscious of the steps that it’s about to take. It’s worth remembering that Sáenz de Santamaría, interim Vice-President of the Spanish government, threatened to open a disciplinary course against the President of the the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, (she urged the Constitutional Tribunal to look into the possibility of a crime having been committed to then pass on to the prosecution) and furthermore she ordered that injunctions be sent to the other members of the committee, to the Secretary General of the Chamber, to the President of the Generalitat, Carles Puigdemont, and to the other members of his executive.
Behind this judicial offensive lies a conviction that the Catalan process can be stopped by the tribunals, through sanctions and disqualifications, and that this would be enough to put off the majority of pro-independence members of parliament from their objectives. It’s a fantastical aim since these politicians are acting as representatives for almost two millions citizens who gave them a mandate to start the process towards independence. And since the motor of this process is democracy itself, it’s quite characteristic that the state’s response has been to suspend elected ministers, ban debates in parliament or to make legal threats to members of the government. The solution to the Catalan conflict is through deepening democracy and looking for ways for the citizens to express themselves, not through restricting liberties or making cuts to democratic rights. Therefore, disqualifying the President of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, would be a democratic mistake.
Diari Ara, July 30, 2016