Statement from the Catalan Ombudsman, in defense of the rights of citizens, re possible alterations to the legal framework

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Photo: Catalan Ombudsman Rafael Ribo (Photo:

January 30th, 2018

Statement From the Catalan Ombudsman
This institution considers that there are obvious reasons for the European Court of Human Rights to intervene.

It also recommends that the Parliament of Catalonia  file an appeal against the requirement to request judicial authorization to attend the presidential inauguration.

The Catalan Ombudsman considers the possible alteration of the current legal framework to be very serious, and a violation of the rule of law, by means of the ruling by the Spanish Constitutional Court (Tribunal Constitucional) on January 27th. In this decision, the Spanish High Court unanimously agreed to the precautionary suspension of the resolutions of the President and the Bureau of the Parliament of Catalonia, which proposed the inauguration of Carles Puigdemont as a candidate for the Presidency of the Government of Catalonia.

The Spanish Constitutional Court, in an action separate to the request for a ruling brought by the Spanish State Government, has adopted unsolicited precautionary measures, which are not provided for in the Spanish Constitution, nor in its organic law, and in a procedure (a challenge of autonomous provisions) that it does not have the authority to undertake. These precautionary measures have a direct impact on the rights of an elected deputy (MP), elected in the latest elections from December 21st: the right of popular representation of the Parliament, and also, in general, the rights of political participation of all the citizens of Catalonia, and these were adopted without consulting these parties in the procedure.

In fact, the ruling of the Spanish Constitutional Court puts a condition on the candidacy for the presidency of the Catalan Government (having to first request a judicial authorization) which is currently unknown in the legal system in vigour and which, as a condition which must be overcome in order to be sworn in, violates his rights as a Member of Parliament and is contrary to the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). In this regard, in addition, all the citizens of Catalonia, regardless of of their vote on December 21, are prevented from the right of political participation by active suffrage. On the other hand, the repeated prohibition of MPs who are deprived of freedom to participate in parliamentary tasks −except with regards to their vote, which can be delegated− also supposes a violation of the right of passive suffrage of these MPs.

The Catalan Ombudsman considers that there are well-founded reasons for people directly injured in their rights to bring their relevant complaint before the ECHR, which could request, if necessary, precautionary measures under article 39 of its Regulations. The Catalan Ombudsman recommends that the Parliament of Catalonia submit a petition against the Spanish Constitutional Court’s ruling that the candidate request prior authorization to be eligible for his investiture, not to mention the allegations that have yet to be admitted into legal procedure in relation to the request for a ruling brought by the [Spanish] State Government.

Likewise, the Catalan Ombudsman will send this statement to the European Commissioner for Human Rights and other international bodies for their knowledge and consideration.

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