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The Bureau's not for turning. Having convened a meeting this Thursday with a single item on the agenda, the Bureau of the Parliament of Catalonia has ratified the suspension of rights and duties as an MP of Laura Borràs (Junts per Catalunya), as well as her attributions as speaker of the house, as it agreed last July. In the meeting, this time without the participation of Borràs, the majority of the procedural body of the Catalan chamber overturned the request for reconsideration that Junts had presented. The proposal was rejected by the same votes that agreed to the original suspension: pro-independence parties ERC and the CUP, and the Socialists of the PSC. Aurora Madaula, Bureau representative for the also pro-independence Junts, was left alone again.

Having previously listened to arguments from all the parliamentary parties in the preceding Board of Spokespeople meeting, the Bureau agreed by a large majority not to admit the Junts request, arguing that there was no object for reconsideration, and therefore indirectly endorsing the application of article 25.4 of the chamber's rules.

Thus Junts per Catalunya has exhausted Parliament's last internal recourse, the request for a reconsideration, which allows the review of decisions taken by the Bureau. The request was registered on August 16th, and at that point the Junts parliamentary group already warned that, "following the recommendations of the speaker's legal team, this procedure will serve to exhaust all administrative routes before opening the judiciary path in Europe".

In fact, this Thursday the party presented a new writ to include in the request for reconsideration a reference to the resolution of the UN Human Rights Committee on Wednesday, which censured Spain for having withdrawn the political rights of pro-independence prisoners who had not been convicted of a crime. Borràs's lawyer, Gonzalo Boye, commented on similar lines this Thursday morning on social media: "What Llarena did by applying article 384 bis of the LECrim is as serious as what "is being done with article 25.4 of the regulation of the Parliament of Catalonia. There is no difference because the violation of the Pact arises from the deprivation of rights, not from the alleged crime." But the new argument was rejected by the majority of the Bureau, including ERC, which considers that comparing the cases does a "disservice" to the independence movement.


When Catalan president Pere Aragonès (ERC) was asked about the issue on Wednesday, he emphasized that the case of the imprisoned deputies and that of Laura Borràs were not comparable. The president of the Generalitat, speaking at a press conference in Geneva, argued that "the Catalan deputies who today received recognition from the UN were persecuted for having held the 1st October referendum and for their commitment to self-determination, while the investigation that is being carried out with respect to deputy Laura Borràs is for an alleged crime of corruption". And Aragonès insisted on separating the two: "It is precisely due to the need to be clear at international level in the fight against repression that one issue must be separated from the other."