Spain has become a country in which the Supreme Court can issue a sentence which is outside legality - the judge emeritus of that same court, José Antonio Martín Pallín, has put it in exactly these terms - and thus disqualify from office the president of Catalonia, Quim Torra. At the same time, the state's Solicitor General has written a report at the request of the Spanish government whose conclusion is exactly as desired by those who commissioned it: that Spain's official government gazette is under no obligation to announce the removal from office of the Catalonia president, ignoring the fact that it has always published such events and that the rabbit which it just pulled from a hat didn't even exist until a few hours before. And if we widen the focus, the drama is even greater: the Catalan leader has been sacked from office because, for a few too many hours, he hung a banner on the balcony of the Palau de la Generalitat calling for the release of the political prisoners, while the next day, the National Audience acquitted the 34 defendants in the trial for the stock market launch of Bankia, demonstrating that it cares very little that the rescue of that bank ended up costing the citizens more than 21 billion euros.
There are other examples, of course, such as the scandalous behaviour of justice with king emeritus Juan Carlos I and the corruption of the Spanish monarchy, with the stopper on any investigation tightly inserted. But the issue is Torra. The news framework of the day is centred on Torra and the verbal attacks are for the Catalan president. Hence the rush to make him disappear from the public eye as quick as can be, and to open the election lead-up as soon as possible, at which point we return to the government gazette: why is the Spanish government not publishing, as had been considered mandatory until now, the dismissal of Quim Torra after the Supreme Court's ratification of the sentence and the notification of this fact to the president? Are they perhaps afraid that the Constitutional Court will end up accepting an injunction and that the entire judicial journey so far to remove Torra will be in vain? No one gives even the slightest credence to this latter possibility, and neither do I, but the war between the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court is well known and perhaps that is why the Spanish government wants to be cautious. The shadow of Torra, although disqualified from office, hangs over the Moncloa government palace.
Because what is clear is that European justice will end up declaring that Quim Torra's dismissal is null and void and no one is comfortable with the Supreme Court's decision. Not Pedro Sánchez, even if it makes it easier for him that Torra is not there, may not want to leave his signature alongside that of the king in the government gazette until the Constitutional Court makes its ruling. Botch-ups can take a long time to emerge, but in the end they end up coming to light, and this is a very clear case. Nor should it be discarded that the criteria might change tomorrow, but at the moment a strange caution reigns, which was not there until the Supreme Court toppled another Catalan president and once again situated Spanish justice far from that of its neighbours. All this without forgetting that the Supreme and Constitutional Courts have been wary of each other for some time and, for example, the president of Constitutional Court was absent last Friday at the controversial judges graduation ceremony, at which the king's attendance was also forbidden by the Spanish government. And in these lofty places, nothing happens by pure chance.
P.S. With this editorial already finished, I receive the news that the Spanish health minister, Salvador Illa, and the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, have reached an accord. Illa has been in constant contact with Ayuso for several days to persuade her to come to her senses and apply lockdown measures to the region to put the brakes on the staggering growth figures for the pandemic. In the morning, José María Aznar's foundation, the FAES, had targetted the minister, noting in an article that "the symbolic value for the current government of the fact that a Catalan Socialist is threatening to close down Madrid can be understood". Beyond being astounded by the intensity of the FAES attack and how the far right is once again stirring up territorial discord, I didn’t give it any more importance. But the truth is that the FAES hit the mark and Illa, after a few days standing up to Ayuso, took a step back, and a big one. The summary of the agreement between the minister and the Madrid president is that the Spanish government has agreed with Madrid to apply the same restrictions in all municipalities with population over 100,000 throughout the state. Suddenly, and to the satisfaction of Madrid, the autonomy that had been achieved via the government's authorization of local states of alarm has been dumped. Well, it could be one of those old jokes: did you hear the one about the Spanish government and the Madrid administration getting into a fight and guess who ends up paying for the damages? Surely you've heard it before.