Aragonès says Borràs would be suspended if she were a member of ERC
President repeats that crimes of which Speaker is accused "are what they are"
ERC redoubles the pressure on Speaker Laura Borràs, who is one step away from appearing in court accused of splitting contracts to avoid regulatory controls when she was the head of the Institution of Catalan Letters (ILC). Catalana president Pere Aragonès did not bite his tongue this Monday and affirmed the crimes Borràs is accused of "are what they are". "What I can tell you is what we would do in ERC. The institution would be put first and she would be removed. Her innocence would be defended and, if she were cleared, she would be restored to her responsibilities," Aragonès added in an interview on Onda Cero. The president also remarked that the accusation against Borràs is "very different" to the cases related to the 2017 Independence referendum.
This strong message contrasts with the words he pronounced last week during government questions. Back then Aragonès avoided saying precisely what Borràs should do, but he did send a first message: "I am sure that everyone will make the decision that best suits their vocation of public service ," he said trying not to open a new rift it hte relationship between his party, Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), and its coalition partner, Together for Catalonia (JxCat), to which speaker Borràs belongs.
Republicans have already made it clear on more than one occasion that the case against Borràs is not political but related to corruption. In fact, the general secretary of ERC, Marta Rovira, said on Sunday in an interview to El Periódico that if she were to find herself in Borràs' situation, she would "step aside while the judicial process lasts". Borràs has rejected such a course of action.
In an interview on Saturday on Tv3's FAQS, Borràs counterattacked demanding not only that article 25.4 of the chamber's regulations not be applied (it states any MP formally indicted of corruption be stripped of the seat) but said it should be "annulled". The speaker argued that this article represents a "democratic problem" because it violates the fundamental right to "presumption of innocence" and holds parliamentarians guilty before the trial. "[Article] 25.4 in a democratic parliament must be annulled," she insisted. These words mark the playing field for ERC and CUP, who have not yet stated what they want to do. There is also the possibility of applying article 25.1 of the same regulation, which speaks of suspending MPs who are facing a trial but does not specify for what crimes.