The Declaration of the Beginning of the Independence Process approved by Junts pel Sí and the CUP on Monday 9th November has been formally suspended for 5 months by the Spanish Constitutional Court. The ruling cites the 7 articles of the Spanish Constitution that the document violates.
The appeal warns 21 politicians, who must obey the ruling, including Artur Mas, Carme Forcadell, all members of the current Government and Mesa del Parlament. This is the first time a ruling has specifically named politicians in a ruling.
After an extraordinary session, the Constitutional Court (Tribunal Constitucional) has suspended the Declaration of the Beginning of the Independence Process. Furthermore, the ruling specifically warns 21 Catalan politicians, including Artur Mas and Carme Forcadell as well as all members of the Government and the Mesa del Parlament, of the consequences of their actions.
In this way, the Constitutional Court closes two days in which the Spanish Government has urgently called three state institutions, the Council of State, the council of ministers and finally the plenary of the Constitutional Court, in order to leave the declaration text without legal effect. The decision was reached after a three-hour plenary session in which the judges argued over whether or not they had jurisdiction to warn the 21 politicians about the consequences of not obeying the ruling.
The appeal denounces the violation of 7 articles of the Constitution
The government's unconstitutionality appeal cites seven articles from the Spanish Constitution and three from the Estatut of Catalonia that the declaration violates and goes on to complain of the document's "absolute lack of respect for the rule of law" and radical unconstitutionality". In a second part, the appeal asks the Constitutional Court to explicitly inform 21 members of the Catalan Government and the Mesa del Parlament of the precautionary suspension as well as warning that any attempt to put any part of the declaration into practice would result in immediate suspension of the individual concerned, according to the new powers the court has recently been given.
The Spanish Government's appeal argues that the sovereignty declaration has legal implications and that it can be impugned and suspended because it invades Spanish sovereignty and consequently, the rule of law. It goes on to say that the declaration already violates the Constitutional Court's ruling of 2013 against the
Declaration of Catalan Sovereignty.
To be specific, the appeal cites 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2, 9.1, 164 and 168 of the Spanish Constitution, which proclaim the sovereignty of the Spanish people, the unity of Spain, the obligation of fulfilling court rulings and the Constitution and procedures for modifying the Constitution, along with articles 1, 2.4 and 4.1 of the Estatut of Catalonia, all modified by the Constitutional Court ruling in 2010, which said the statutes are "subordinate to the Constitution and are not expressions of sovereign power".
"It is obvious that it does take too much consideration to show the radical unconstitutionality of the content of the resolution of the Parliament of Catalonia," the appeal states, whilst assuring that the text gives the Catalan Parliament "a constituent power capable of beginning a break-up process that is unilaterally imposed and that fails to show any respect for the principles that inform the Spanish Constitution and the democratic system, with the contempt for the rule of law".
21 Catalan Politicians Named
The unconstutionality appeal also names 21 members of the Mesa del Parlament and Artur Mas's government, who, as requested by the Spanish government, have been informed of the suspension of the pro-independence declaration when the court accepted it. It also calls on the Constitutional Court to impose on Carme Forcadell, the President of Parliament, as well as on the general secretary of Parliament and on Artur Mas and all his government amongst others the "express prohibition" of any kind of process or initiative that has the aim of "fulfilling the suspended resolution". Furthermore, the Spanish government wanted the Constitutional Court to warn the Catalan politicians that if they "proceed with the crime of disobedience", they will be suspended from office.
Those notified included members of the Mesa del Parlament: Carme Forcadell, Lluis Corominas, José María Espejo, Anna Simó, David Pérez, Joan Josep Nuet, Ramona Barrufet and Pere Sol. Paradoxically, the Mesa del Parlament includes a member of PSC, another of Ciudadanos and one from Catalunya, Sí que es Pot, whilst no members of the radical pro-independence CUP party were named.
The following members of the government were also notified: Artur Mas, Neus Munté, Francesc Homs, Meritxell Borràs, Andreu Mas-Colell, Irene Rigau, Boi Ruiz, Jordi Jané, Santi Vila, Ferran Mascarell, Jordi Ciuraneta, Felip Puig, Germà Gordó and anyone who might be made a member of the government in the future.
Rajoy "The declaration of the Parlament supposes a declared insubmission to the institutions of the State"
Just half an hour after the official state lawyer presented the appeal of unconstitutionality, Mariano Rajoy said that the declaration supposes "a declared insubmission to the institutions of the State". "They want to finish with democracy and the rule of law. And I will not allow it," said the Spanish President, who will be in Barcelona on Saturday.
"I would be delighted if the last measure the government has to take were today," he replied when asked how the government would act if the Catalan Parliament disobeys the ruling, and went on to say "I won't accept that some gentlemen put an end to the way we live together" and that he would "act" if necessary.
This is a loose translation of an article originally published on Nació Digital entitled El Constitucional suspèn la declaració independentista i adverteix expressament Mas i Forcadell
On the afternoon of Thursday November 11th, the Catalan politicians received their warning letter from the Constitutional Court.
The Junts pel Sí deputy, Meritexell Borràs, posted hers on Twitter and I have taken the liberty of including it below.
It basically says that "I, the attorney of the Administration of Justice in the Parliament of Catalonia, notify personally Meritxell Borràs, who I have before me, of the plenary of the Constitutional Court of November 11th .... and warn her of her obligation to impede or paralyse that supposes ignoring or eluding the agreed suspension, and I warn her of the eventual responsibilities, including criminal ones, that she might suffer."