Friday, November 7, 2014

Catalan Government requests Constitutional Court not to accept Rajoy's appeal against November 9's vote

Last Monday the Catalan Government filed a complaint to the Constitutional Court by which it requested the rejection of the Spanish Executive's appeal against the alternative and non-binding referendum vote on independence scheduled for the 9th of November. The Catalan Executive accuses the Spanish Government of "abuse of power and abuse of the legal process" since it is filing an appeal instead of filing a mere execution incident in order to force the Court's automatic suspension of the alternative vote and to stop citizens from expressing their opinion. According to the Catalan Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, the Spanish Government cannot argue both that Catalan authorities are disobeying the temporary suspension of the original non-binding referendum vote by launching an alternative process, and at the same time file a new appeal on this same matter. As Homs pointed out, if the Spanish Government considers the current alternative vote to be a continuation of the original one, then a new appeal cannot be filed. However, the Spanish Government's legal advantage of filing a new appeal is that, when the Constitutional Court agrees to take into consideration one of its appeals, there is an automatic suspension of the object appealed against until a final decision is reached (a process that can take months or years). Therefore, the Spanish Government would be forcing the use of this legal path in order to obtain the automatic suspension of November's 9 alternative vote and prevent the Catalan Executive the opportunity of providing any explanation. Furthermore, the Catalan Government has also pointed out that the Spanish Executive is using the Constitutional Court to solve a political problem that should be solved by political representatives and not by Courts. In addition, Homs insisted that Catalans will be able to cast their opinion into ballot boxes on the 9th of November, insisting on their right "to exercise their freedom of ideology and freedom of expression".


On Friday, a few hours after the Government chaired by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy filed the appeal; the President of the Catalan Executive had already launched the accusations of "abuse of power and abuse of the legal process" and announced a series of legal actions to be taken in the next few days. This Monday's complaint to the Constitutional Court is the first one.

The judicial complaint filed on Monday aims to stop the Constitutional Court from agreeing to take into consideration Rajoy's appeal and therefore automatically suspending next Sunday's participatory process in Catalonia. Firstly, the Catalan Government has emphasised that the accusation that they are disobeying the suspension of the original vote is "false". They recalled that preparations for the original non-binding referendum vote were stopped and that the decree calling such a vote is no longer valid, as was solemnly announced by the Catalan President on the 14th of October.

Secondly, Homs stressed that if the Spanish Government believes that the alternative vote launched to replace the original one is in fact the same process and that it is a continuation of the first one, then it is not "an appeal" but an "execution incident" regarding the Court's temporary suspension that should have been filed.

By filing an appeal, the Spanish Government is deliberately going for the automatic suspension and preventing the Catalan Executive from having their say in front of the Court, which is guaranteed in the case of an execution incident.

Homs announced that the Catalan Government will continue to work on further legal measures to guarantee that Catalans can cast their opinion into ballot boxes on next Sunday's 9th of November. In order to eliminate any doubt, the Catalan Minister for the Presidency insisted that the Executive is "keeping all the preparations ongoing" because it "is convinced" that citizens will be able to vote.

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