Borràs case

Borràs to appeal to Constitutional Court if Parliament maintains her suspension

JxCat considers Speaker's fundamental rights have been violated and will take the case to Europe

2 min
Laura Borràs during her appearance after being suspended from work

BarcelonaThe last decision by PSC, ERC and CUP bureau members before Parliament broke up for the summer was to apply Article 25.4 of the rules of procedure and suspend Laura Borràs as an MP and as speaker. When it seemed that this episode was closed at least until September –when negotiations between JxCat and ERC to agree on Borràs's replacement will begin– JxCat registered a request for the bureau to reconsider and reject the Speaker's suspension. The party warns that they "will exhaust all administrative routes before going before European courts", the first of which is to appeal to Spain's Constitutional Court (TC).

For the party, applying Article 25.4 "violates fundamental rights such as the right to the presumption of innocence, the right to political participation and the principle of legal certainty". For this reason, if the board does not rectify, the speaker will begin a judicial process to defend her rights. And this inevitably has to start at Spain's Constitutional Court, despite the criticisms Borràs and JxCat has made of the Spanish judicial system and, especially, of the Constitutional Court. It is not the first time this has happened: former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont already took the bureau to the Constitutional Court in January 2019, when it was decided that he could no longer delegate his vote. Then it was of no use to him and the court rejected his appeal.

Borràs will submit a report written by the chamber's lawyers which supports her version. Article 25.4 has been controversial since the beginning of this parliament because everyone was aware that it would reach the current point: the speaker's automatic suspension once oral proceedings for crimes related to corruption are opened against her. For this reason, JxCat proposed this wording be deleted, arguing that it violated the presumption of innocence, but did not convince any of its partners. The suspension means that Borràs has stopped being paid, has no executive functions and cannot even vote. However, the situation is not irreversible as in the case of an MP being stripped of their seat; she could recover her position and her rights.

Replacing the president

Despite the petition presented by JxCat, parliamentary sources explain that there are legal doubts as to whether the case can be reconsidered. In any case, the speaker will be able to appeal to the Constitutional Court, even in the event that the bureau does not meet to assess her appeal. In fact, the result would be more or less the same because ERC, PSC and the CUP claim to have acted correctly in compliance with the rules of Parliament.

ERC have been asking JxCat for weeks to agree on a replacement for Borràs so that someone else can occupy the speakership, even if temporarily until the judicial proceedings against her are resolved. This is not currently an option for JxCat, as the party considers that leaving the post vacant symbolises the injustice they consider is being committed.

On the other hand, the PSC has already warned that it will take "the necessary measures" so that Borràs ceases to be speaker. It has not given details and, in fact, does not have enough seats to achieve an outcome by themselves: it would need at least ERC's support, which, for the moment, is not interested in opening a new crisis with its coalition partner JxCat. En Comú, which do not have any seats on the bureau, have also demanded the immediate replacement of Borràs "to end this soap opera which is harming Parliament".