Politics 12/03/2021

Borràs pledges to defend the sovereignty of the Parliament against all external "interference"

She assures that she will take up where Forcadell left off and avoids references to previous speaker

3 min
Laura Borràs has already taken her place as the new president of the Parliament in the hemicycle

Laura Borràs is already the new the Catalan Parliament's new Speaker. The Junts per Catalunya candidate takes over from Roger Torrent after being chosen by a majority of votes in the second vote to elect the presidency, with the support of the deputies of Junts and Esquerra. The CUP has chosen not to support her, but has ceded a vote to JxCat MP Lluís Puig, exiled in Belgium, "out of anti-repressive solidarity", since he was not allowed to vote remotely. After Borràs was voted in as speaker, Anna Caula (ERC) were elected as first vice-speaker and Eva Granados (PSC) as second vice-president. Then came the vote for the other members of the parliamentary bureau, which were won by Ferran Pedret (PSC), Jaume Alonso Cuevillas (JxCat), Rubén Wagensberg (ERC) and Pau Juvillà (CUP). Overall, supporters of independence make up five of seven of the seven members.

Borràs will be the third woman to lead the second institution of the country, after Núria de Gispert (CiU) and Carme Forcadell (ERC). The agreement, however, under 24 hours ago, was arrived at after weeks of intense two and three-way meetings. The agreement is that Junts has the presidency and a secretariat, that Esquerra has a vice-presidency and that the CUP, which aspired to the presidency, is satisfied with having a member. For the CUP's Pau Juvillà to enter the table, Junts and ERC gave him the necessary votes.

The age bureau

The first plenary session of the Parliament of the XIII legislature has begun at ten o'clock in the morning. The session started with the reading of the decree of constitution of the chamber by the secretary general of the chamber, Xavier Muro, who has anointed the age bureau formed by the oldest MP and the two youngest. As in 2018, Ernest Maragall leads it as the oldest member of the chamber, and the Vox's Alberto Tarrades - aged 24 - and the socialist David González - aged 26 - complete it as the youngest parliamentarians. One of the first decisions they have had to make is whether or not to accept Junts's Lluís Puig's delegation of vote. After the surprise return of Meritxell Serret and the resignation of Carles Puigdemont, Puig is the only exiled deputy who has requested to vote from Belgium. The age bureau, however, without a pro-independence majority, has not endorsed his delegation of the vote. This could change later, once the pro-independence majority bureau takes over. What the age bureau has accepted is Pau Juvillà's (CUP) delegation of vote, as he is in quarantine for coronavirus, and Teresa Pallarès (Junts), due to illness,

Maragall has started the session with a speech welcoming the deputy Meritxell Serret, who has just returned from exile. This has already provoked complaints from Ciudadanos, which has demanded that he attend to the function that the regulations give him and that he does not make speeches that "exclude a part of Catalans". Maragall continued his speech, denouncing the "democratic abnormality" of having prisoners and exiles and defended the fact that democracy's need to be useful to "resolve conflicts". He asked "all the people who make up the country" to address the situation, but has also pledged to fight "the far right" in the Parliament as "a democratic obligation"

Image of the 135 MPs at the Parliament auditorium in the inaugural session

Emotional images outside the chamber

If anything, however, has differentiated the constitution of the new Parliament from the previous one, it is the emotional images outside the chamber. The pro-independence MPs have received Esquerra MP Meritxell Serret with applause and hugs after she appeared before the Supreme Court yesterday, having returned after three years in exile. She has received the warmth of the vice president, Pere Aragonès, of Laura Borràs, and also from the head of the ranks of the CUP. However, the image of the moment has taken his embrace with the former president Carme Forcadell, whom she had not seen for three years.

Unlike the prisoners of Lledoners, who were sent back to prison on Wednesday, Forcadell and ex Minister Dolors Bassa are still in open prison regime. At the moment, the judge examining the case has not taken any decision - it is different judge from the one looking at the make prisoners' case - and that is why the former president of the chamber has been able to attend the inauguration this Friday.

Meritxell Serret meets Carme Forcadell three years later
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