The Catalan Parliament can't choose the speaker of Spain's Senate, but today it's said who it doesn't want it to be. 58 of the 266 senators are named by the parliaments of Spain's autonomous communities, normally shared out between the parties in proportion to the composition of each parliament. Today, however, PSC's proposal to designate their first secretary, Miquel Iceta, as their senator was voted down after acting prime minister Pedro Sánchez had announced that he would be made candidate for speaker.
The candidacy was criticised by parties from both sides of the political spectrum, and on both sides of the issue of Catalan independence. Only En Comú supported PSC's nomination, eventually voted down with 25 votes in favour, 65 against and 39 abstentions.
PSC had tried to the last to get the candidacy through. They'd tried to have the vote run on paper, which would have required deputies to write the name of the candidate they supported, or no one. With no alternative candidate proposed by the party for their seat, and no consensus having formed around another name among the other parties, plus the lack of an option to vote against the proposal, they hoped they could therefore get him across the line.
A meeting of party spokespeople and the chamber's governing board this morning, however, decided to go with an electronic, theoretically secret vote on Iceta's nomination specifically, opening the door to deputies voting against him. Whilst theoretically secret, the first time the vote was run the breakdown of the results appeared by error on the display screens in the chamber as a member of the Parliament's technical staff tried in vain to reach the speaker, Roger Torrent, in time to prevent it. The vote then had to be re-run.
Iceta, speaking immediately before the vote, had three things to say: first, that when the Senate opens its new session next Tuesday Catalonia will be missing a representative; second, that he has "absolute respect for all people and all ideas", noting that the last time he talked about the Senate in the Catalan Parliament was to offer to go there with Carles Puigdemont to avoid the implementation of article 155 of the Spanish Constitution and the suspension of Catalan autonomy; and third, that however painful the resulting of the pending vote could be for him, it wouldn't remove a "hint of his wish" to support dialogue.