Mariano Rajoy's policy of leaving Spanish politics, and in particular the Catalan conflict, in the hands of justice has had two great consequences: it is impossible to disentangle the mass of cases that exist in one court or another, be it the Supreme Court, the National Audience, local and territorial courts, and going as far as the Constitutional Court and the Court of Accounts; and secondly, it has given Spanish justice so much power that it sets the daily news agenda and has become a real actor in opposition to the Spanish government. The so-called left, that is, the PSOE, built castles in the air when in opposition, making agreements with the right on crucial appointments in the judiciary and its highest body, the General Council. Now, by contrast, it can see everyday that the web of interests which the conservatives have woven with the help of time, loyal servants and dexterity - former minister Federico Trillo has a lot to do with it - has given Spain's deep state more power to rule than the government itself and turning this around becomes a titanic task.
This was seen on Monday with the Supreme Court's decision on whether or not to allow the disqualification of Catalan president Quim Torra from his position as an MP. After several days of deliberation, the Supreme Court went against the position of the public prosecutors and decided to back the Central Electoral Commission which had ruled in favour of the disqualification. Beyond the fact that this tramples on the rights of MPs and the sovereignty of Parliament itself, since a decision like this should not have taken place until the Supreme Court had ruled on the pending appeal, what it does is fire the starting gun for a free-for-all on what needs to happen next.
The Provincial Electoral Commission for Barcelona has already made a move and given 48 hours to the speaker of the Catalan parliament, Roger Torrent, to let it know the name of the new MP to replace Torra. An opinion submitted by the legal counsel to the Catalan chamber several few weeks ago said that the electoral authority could not strip the Catalan president of his position in parliament. Now what will they say, after the Supreme Court has spoken? Also in the middle of all this is the political positioning of Parliament, which was adamant on the matter and passed a motion stating that the Catalan chamber alone had the power to deprive him of his seat. Quim Torra has already said that he does not intend to abide by the dictates of the Supreme Court and the Electoral Commission and that on Monday he will be taking part in the votes in Parliament.
It is obvious that, on this occasion, the Pedro Sánchez government does not want fire to break out, just as it is laying the foundations for a relationship with the Catalan Republican Left, a process still in the construction and confidence-building phase: Sánchez has an appointment with Quim Torra in Barcelona, announced for the first week of February, and the dialogue table between the two governments must meet. That is why he has raised the issue of amending the Penal Code on the crime of sedition, as a gesture to the pro-independence groups. But justice has its own calendar and its own agenda. And the right will do whatever it takes so that what it cannot win in the Spanish Congress, through parliamentary majorities, it might obtain in the courts. And Sánchez is now waking up to that.