Unanimous pressure on Speaker to explain herself over Juvillà case

Speaker Laura Borràs claims she did not know of civil servants' action to strip MP of his seat

3 min
The President of the Parliament, Laura Borràs, before the Meeting of Spokespersons of the Parliament.

BarcelonaThe day after the Parliament found out that the CUP MP Pau Juvillà lost his seat has not been much calmer. From 9.30 a.m. until 2 p.m. there have been meetings of bodies such as the Bureau, the Enlarged Bureau and the Board of Spokespersons with the case of the CUP MP again as the topic of the day. This Friday attention has been focused on the pressure the groups have exerted on Speaker Laura Borràs to give explanations on the whole matter. They consider that there are too many questions to be resolved. And this time it has been a unanimous pressure that has come both from the unionist side –PSC and En Comú– and from the pro-independence side –ERC and CUP–.

Parties' confessable purpose in pressing Borràs is to have information on whether the Speaker knew on Thursday when the parliamentary session began that Juvillà was no longer an MP and, even so, hid it. Then it was not public, but the chamber had already decided not to summon the MP for the plenary session; the general secretary was preparing the order to withdraw his seat with retroactive effect from January 28th and, finally, this Friday it has been officially published in the Butlletí Oficial del Parlament. The more unconfessable aim is to wear down Borràs, who had promised to defend Juvillà's seat until, at least, there was a final ruling, which has not yet arrived. The doubts are not only about Thursday's plenary, but the groups wonder if Borràs already knew on January 28 that Juvillà was no longer an MP. "Did he resign his position at the Bureau when he was no longer an MP?", more than one parliamentary voice questions.

According to several sources consulted by ARA, in parliamentary meetings this morning Borràs said she knew nothing and that all the decisions that have led Juvillà to lose his seat were taken by officials without accountability to her. "She has told us that she did not know," explained more than one MP. Most, however, do not believe her version. "It doesn't add up," said another parliamentarian. What is the Speaker's version? Well, this Friday there were rumours she would make some sort of statement. Finally, nothing happened

The Speaker's only public response was to promise that there will be one. And she has done it on Twitter: "I have not said my last word," Borràs replied to a social network user who asked for explanations. Borràs' main argument for not accepting Juvillà's proxy vote on Thursday was that there could be a conflict of interest because the vote was on a ruling that affected the MP. This same opinion, however, was voted on the day before in the Estatut del Diputat. There were 135 weighted votes, one of which was Juvillà's. That is, his weighted vote was counted although there was –according to Borràs– this conflict of interests and it was not fully known whether he was still an MP.

The Torrent precedent

One of the parties that want explanations is ERC. Deputy secretary general of the Republicans, Marta Vilalta, told Tv3: "We are asking for clarification of the whole sequence and that, at this point, it is assumed that if we already knew we would get here, this could have been made explicit," she said. Indirectly, what the ERC demands is that JxCat admit that they have done "the same" as former ERC Speaker Roger Torrent did when, he stripped then president Torra of his seat. "Torrent was treated unfairly and now Borràs has to show her face," explains a Republican source.

The Socialists, who does not share a Government with JxCat as ERC does, were more forceful. "He has deceived us. He has not told the truth to the Bureau's members, nor to Mps, and neither to the citizens of Catalonia," proclaimed socialist spokeswoman Alícia Romero. They believe Borràs knew there was no turning back and Juvillà was not an MP, but tried to hide it. En Comú have also asked for explanations from the Speaker in morning meetings, and have also been disappointed.

Cuevillas charges against CUP

JxCat sent MP Jaume Alonso-Cuevillas to face the music this morning. His defence was that everything is the CUP's fault, which asked for Juvillà's vote to be delegate to force Borràs to commit a crime of disobedience. "They wanted to send her to the garbage can of the Penal Code," he concluded. CUP has kept a low profile. On Thursday it criticised the Speaker for "not guaranteeing" the MP's rights, and today Juvillà himself decided to take it humorously: "Now it seems that Juvillà has been retired (And without an age-based leave)". With explanations from Borràs or without them, this Friday in Parliament there was only one idea on which everyone agreed: Juvillà is no longer an MP.