Borràs confident ERC and CUP will not let her go

Speaker asks pro-independence movement not to do the State's "dirty work" and avoid her suspension if she goes to trial

2 min
Laura Borràs, in an archive image at the Parliament

A step away from trial for alleged irregularities when she was director of the Institution of Catalan Letters, Catalan Speaker Laura Borràs has again defended her innocence and has demanded ERC and CUP do not support her suspension in application of article 25.4 of the Catalan Parliament's regulations. This article establishes any MP must lose their seat when a judicial proceeding is opened against them for crimes linked to corruption. "No democrat should be tempted to do so," Borràs said in an interview on Tv3 in relation to his case.

Borràs has admitted that she has not yet spoken with these two parties, which have not commented on whether or not they will back her suspension, but has asked pro-independence parties not to act as judges and not to collaborate with the "dirty work" of "political persecution". "No one can understand someone being suspended when they have not even been judged", she said. The Speaker has insisted that article 25.4 is of "manifest unconstitutionality" because it "violates" the presumption of innocence. "It gives immense powers to the Parliamentary Bureau prior to a sentence being passed," she added.

She has also made it clear that she does not feel "questioned" by the regulation because she has not committed any crime, neither of corruption nor of any other type, and has affirmed that, in the event that she does face a trial, her case will have to be voted on by the the MPs' Statute committee, as provided for in the regulations in case of doubts on whether article 24.5 should be applied. There she will need the backing both of the CUP and ERC. Parliamentary sources told Efe the Speaker will seek to put an opinion to a vote in this committee and, subsequently, in Parliament. This opinion would question the legality of the controversial article or claim that the suspension against her had "political" motivations.

Borràs, who has filed an appeal against the High Court's decision to send her to trial, has claimed that "minor contracts follow the current legal framework" and added that the Institution of Catalan Letters "does not have any other form of contracting taking into account its contracting volume". Thus, she has denied that she favoured a friend by splitting contracts and has assured that "all procedures were made in accordance with the law". "I have done my job well, on time, at a minimum cost and with the highest quality," she said. The magistrate in charge of this case, however, has concluded that there are indications that Borràs "abused" her position as head of the ILC by allegedly awarding contracts to a friend irregularly, whom she had known for years and with whom she had worked.