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Four imprisoned Catalan politicians have now been suspended from their rights and duties as deputies in the new Spanish Congress, but questions remain as to the implications of this decision. According to newly elected speaker Mertixell Batet, the lower house's presiding Board has agreed to request a report from its legal service on the "calculation of majorities". Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Turull and Josep Rull have been suspended, but not removed from office or replaced.

The most important current question is whether this lowers the threshold for an absolute majority in the chamber to 174 from 176 or not. If so, Pedro Sánchez could find it easier to be reinvested prime minister, even in the first round of voting, without needing support from the pro-independence parties. On Tuesday, Batet got 175 votes in the second round to become the new speaker. According to Congress sources, there are precedents of reduced majorities caused by deputies being absent or suspended.

The four imprisoned deputies won't be banned from holding office unless and until they are convicted and sentenced, so they're not required to give up their seats for the moment. They could, however, resign and concede their seat to a party colleague.

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