Thursday, October 2, 2014

No separation of powers in Spain

Recent events concerning limiting the scope of democracy in Catalonia by the Spanish government convince us that it is about time the international community knew that Spain is not as democratic as it seems.

The Spanish Constitutional Court, who has the final say on constitutional matters, and who was in charge of ruling on the appeals against the Catalan Referendum Law and the November 9th Referendum Decree, is no longer pretending to be impartial. This court is composed of twelve jurists and judges who are chosen as follows: four are chosen by the the highly politicized Spanish Congress; four by the even more politicized Spanish Senate; two by the quintessentially politicized President’s Cabinet; and two by the General Judiciary Council. Afterwards, they are nominated by the Spanish king.

How can it be allowed that those in charge of deciding whether a law is constitutional actively participate in the political process? Who can assure us that the constitutional magistrates are not receiving direct orders from the government? How can Spain keep claiming to abide by the separation of powers that Europe adopted starting with the French Revolution?

Let us not kid ourselves, there is no separation of powers in Spain. We could even say that there never was! In Spain, the executive branch is also making the laws and the rulings; lawmakers think they can make the rulings and execute them; the judiciary branch is getting direct orders from lawmakers and from the executive branch.
What guarantees do we, the People of Catalonia, have that the vicious appeals sent to the Spanish Constitutional Court by the current government in Spain could ever be treated in a fair, impartial way so that they would result in just, equanimous, and legal rulings? Not a single one!

Spain is trying to project abroad an image of democracy and legality, but inside the walls the people have been starting to notice the nasty stench of a dictatorship.


Judit Clarasó
Jurist

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