Pro-independence parties will not to disobey Juvillà ruling to avoid harming civil servants

JxCat, ERC and CUP assume that it will not be necessary to await a final ruling for the MP to be stripped of his seat

3 min
Laura Borràs and Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas during the Committee on the Statute of the Member of Parliament

BarcelonaIn case of a conviction, the rules of Parliament only foresee one situation in which an MP can be stripped of their seat: if the ruling is final. Until now this had been the line of defence led by Speaker Laura Borràs, with the support of the three pro-independence parties. But given the evidence that this will not happen in the case of Pau Juvillà, as it did not happen in the case of former Catalan president Quim Torra, ERC, JxCat and CUP will ask Parliament to vote on a text which argues that, at least, it should be possible to wait for the Supreme Court to resolve the precautionary measures that both Parliament and Juvillà had requested so the execution of the Central Electoral Board's resolution to strip Juvillà of his seat could be postponed. In the text, which has a long preamble but only four points to vote, the three parties shield themselves in the protection of the civil servants to justify that they will not disobey in the Juvillà case. The text, approved in the commission of the Statute of the Deputy, has received the favourable vote of the pro-independence parties and En Comú, while PSC, Cs, PP and Vox have opposed it. It will now have to be ratified by Parliament.

The preamble –without legal value– is the most extensive part of the text. Fundamentally, it highlights that officials of the chamber could incur in a crime if they do not execute the resolutions of the Electoral Board. "The political forces in Parliament consider that the limit to political disobedience to the State's repression is to preserve officials from any type of criminal and accounting responsibility for which they can be prosecuted". Quite a statement of intent considering that both the secretary general and the auditor of accounts and other officials of the chamber involved in the payment of Juvillà's salary or allowing him to continue voting have no intention of disobeying the JEC's resolution. As none of the officials have received a personal notification from the JEC, Parliament understands that they would not commit disobedience if they do not withdraw Juvillà's seat and wait for a communication from the Supreme Court. However, sources of all parties believe it is unlikely officials will take the risk.

Parliamentary sources consulted by ARA explain that the previous meeting between the three parties was tense – the beginning of the commission was postponed for two hours due to the difficulties agreeing on a text – because the first version that had been raised was so explicit that it implied that Juvillà is no longer at this point a deputy of the Parliament. The final document leaves this fact to the free interpretation of the reader, since the resolutive part only explains that Juvillà does not fulfil any of the conditions to be stripped of his seat nor to be suspended collected in Parliament's regulation. The key to everything lies in whether Juvillà will continue to be paid and vote in Parliament, and all sources agree that this will not happen.

Aurora Madaula, Laura Borràs, Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas and Francesc de Dalmases arriving at the commission of the Statute of the Deputy.

There has also been conflict between JxCat and the CUP regarding the role of civil servants: although the final draft points the risk they would be exposed to as the reason not to disobey the resolution, sources in the chamber explain that in the first draft civil servants were held directly responsible for Juvillà being stripped of his seat. This provoked the anger, among others, of the CUP, which demanded that this point be moved. The final result, beyond the suspension of the parliamentary activity for a few hours as a form of protest –the initial was for fifteen days–, will be that Pau Juvillà will lose his seat.

Juvillà had already announced earlier this week that he would be standing down as a member of the Parliamentary Bureau due to health reasons, which would be taken over by Carles Riera. However, he had asked Parliament not to strip him of his seat, as it was considered an infringement on Parliament's sovereignty.