On Saturday, the Spanish Constitutional Court ruled that Carles Puigdemont can only be sworn in as president in person and with a juridical authorization prior to appearance in court. This decision, which sets a dangerous precedent, comes after the Spanish government pressured the court to rule in its favor.
According to ex-members of the Constitutional Court and prestigious jurists, the Constitutional Court violated its own rules by adopting precautionary measures against Puigdemont and four members of his cabinet since the Court only had the power to decide whether or not to consider Rajoy’s cabinet’s appeal.
Most of the current judges which form the Spanish Constitutional Court were directly appointed by the two largest Spanish political parties, PP and PSOE, which shows the high degree of politicization in the Spanish judicial system.
The Spanish government made a surprise announcement on Tuesday that it would appeal against Puigdemont’s candidacy for president in the Constitutional Court. This came after Rajoy said there was no legal basis for such a move a few days before.
Vice-President Santamaría alleged that a fugitive couldn’t be nominated as president without previously appearing in front of a judge. She added that there was also an ongoing search and arrest warrant issued against Puigdemont.
The Spanish Council of State formed by former ministers and lawyers ruled on Thursday that Puigdemont’s candidacy for president couldn’t be suspended until there is a firm judicial sentence against him since he retains his rights as an elected MP.
A Remote Investiture and Delegation of Votes
The Constitutional Court ruled against the remote investiture of Puigdemont since the presidential candidate must be physically in the Parliament during the debate. The Court also prohibited Puigdemont and the four ministers of his cabinet, who are in exile in Belgium, to delegate their votes for the investiture session.
Warning against the Catalan Parliament Bureau
The Constitutional Court also called on the members of the Catalan Parliament’s Bureau to respect its resolution, pointing out that whoever disobeys it will face criminal charges.
Appeal to the European Court of Human Rights
A few hours after learning about the resolution of the Constitutional Court, the Catalan lawyer of Puigdemont Cuevillas said that he would probably take the Constitutional Court decision to the European Court of Human Rights. He said it was a political decision which violates his client’s rights.
Numerous representatives of JxCat said, “ We will not propose [for president] a candidate other than Puigdemont. Plan A is Puigdemont; Plan B Puigdemont.”
“Even the Constitutional Court rejected the legal fraud that the Spanish government was perpetuating. More than one person should rectify the situation and end the politics once and for all. And if they are unable to do so, they should consider stepping down and giving way,” he tweeted.
The Spanish government also reacted to the news by welcoming the fact that the judges do not allow an investiture at a distance, which Madrid brands as “fraudulent.”
The CUP party calls on Catalan parliament speaker Torrent to “disobey”
The CUP party urged the Catalan Parliament president to disobey yesterday’s Constitutional Court resolution against Puigdemont’s candidacy for president. It added that they will only be present in the investiture session if Puigdemont is the candidate. Otherwise, they will attempt to block the formation of a new government which could lead to new elections.