Politics 03/03/2021

Vox's eleven MPs refuse to sign the Parliament's commitment against discrimination and harassment

It is part of the chamber's equality plan and is not mandatory in order to take the seat

2 min
The empty Chamber of Parliament in an archive image.
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BarcelonaAll the deputies elected on February 14 will be given the opportunity to commit in writing against discrimination "and psychological or sexual harassment" when taking possession of their seat. It is one of the measures that are part of the gender equality plan that was approved last term and that will be applied for the first time this term. It will be voluntary and, therefore, will not be added to the three requirements for taking up the seat: to present credentials at the Electoral Board, to promise or swear an oath to the Spanish Constitution and Catalonia's Statute of Autonomy, and to present a declaration of assets and activities. It has already been made clear that Vox's eleven MPs will refuse to sign this document. "Evidently none of the eleven Vox MPs will sign the declaration. We do not take lessons from those who attack our police every day, many of whom are women," wrote the leader of the far right in Catalonia, Ignacio Garriga. He adds that party members will participate in any of the courses or talks on this issue either, as he considers it "a waste of time".

"Their concerns revolve around the use of the menstrual cup or seeking to correct gender bias in works of art. They could not be further from the real interests of Catalans: they are placement agencies and public waste," he insisted in the thread. Vox's refusal to commit in writing to the fight against "discrimination and psychological or sexual harassment" begins to clarify the picture of the upcoming legislature. The far-right party has historically refused to talk about gender-based violence or harassment. Now it remains to be seen if any other MPs will refuse to sign the document. The Parliament asks them to sign even if they do not fully agree with it.

In the text, Parliament asks MPs to commit to ensuring "a working environment free of sexism, LGBTI-phobia, psychological harassment or sexual harassment" to make the Catalan institution "a reference in the fight against gender inequality and discrimination". In addition, it also proposes that parliamentarians, when "required", undertake to cooperate "diligently in the existing procedures to manage complaints or complaints in this area," as well as to participate "in the specialised training provided by the chamber on gender equality and prevention of harassment". Also for the first time deputies are asked their gender with a form that includes four options: male, female, non-binary and no answer.

Two months to present the declaration of economic interests

In addition to this declaration and the three requirements to assume the deputy's seat, the new parliamentarians will also have to present a declaration of economic interests once the Parliament has been constituted. They have two months to do it and the declaration has to contain detailed information about the professional activities they have had during the last three years; the remunerated activities they have during their mandate; specify if they belong to boards or administrative bodies of companies, non-governmental organisations and associations, and the economic interests that may influence the exercise of the functions of MP, among other. Despite the demand for this document, in the Spanish Parliament Vox MPs who did not submit the documents were not sanctioned. In addition, before July 30 each year, all deputies must submit a copy of their income tax and wealth, or show they have not should they be exempt.