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Commotion in the Catalan Parliament this morning after Catalonia's High Court (TSJC) banned another pro-independence MP from office: in this case, the third secretary of the parliamentary Bureau, Pau Juvillà, of the CUP, who was disqualified from public office for six months and fined 1,080 euros for having failed to take down the yellow ribbons that were hanging outside his office in the Lleida city council building. Thus, a day expected to be quiet in the Catalan chamber was inflamed by the verdict against Juvillà, with the speaker of the chamber, Laura Borràs, making the commitment to ensure that he will keep his seat until the sentence is final.

Thus, the pro-independence majority on the procedural Bureau - ERC, Junts, CUP - along with the left-wing Comuns stated their personal and political support to Juvillà's case, while the Catalan Socialists (PSC) refused to do so, responding that it respects court rulings. Then, a second, emergency session of the Bureau was called which decided to transfer Juvillà's case to the MPs' Committee of the Statute, which is to meet this Thursday. The aim is for the Catalan chamber to take the initiative quickly and not wait for Spain's Central Electoral Commission (JEC) to order the immediate withdrawal of the MP's seat, as it did in the case of the former Catalan president Quim Torra.

In view of this precedent, sources close to the speaker explain that this time they want the Catalan chamber to exercise its powers from the beginning, putting the matter in the hands of the parliamentary groups: in the Commission of the Statute, the parliamentary groups will have to support a motion.

Laura Borràs assures that she will not withdraw Juvillà's seat

Beyond this move, one other thing is clear: Laura Borràs, in statements to the press outside the chamber, stated her commitment to preserve the seat of the anti-capitalist MP until appeals have been heard and there is a final sentence, thus ensuring that the CUP politician's political rights will be respected no matter how much the JEC indicates otherwise.

La presidenta del Parlament, Laura Borràs, declaraciones condena e inhabilitación Pau Juvillà - ACN

The speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Laura Borràs / ACN

"I do not have the legal authority nor the will to withdraw the parliamentary seat of Juvillà or any deputies, and I will act in accordance with the preservation of rights and freedoms," said the speaker, who recalled that Parliament "is the seat of the sovereignty of the people of Catalonia "and that, on the other hand, the Electoral Commission "is an administrative body".


Vox and Cs, fast move to the electoral board

But why are all eyes already on the electoral commission? Because the possibility that this body will order the stripping of the MP's seat is on the table, since the parties of the Spanish right activated the mechanisms as soon as the TSJC's ruling was announced. Both Vox and Ciudadanos, after celebrating the court's decision, stated in Parliament that they will ask the electoral body to demand the parliament's compliance with the ruling. The PP has not yet commented and this morning its 3 MPs made no appearance in the chamber, although they did appear at an event held by their visiting party leader, Pablo Casado.


ERC: no clarification of the steps it will take

The Republican Left (ERC) was the least clear in comments on what action it will take, with spokesperson Marta Vilalta refusing to speculate on future scenarios and, instead, focused her comments on denouncing the injustice that she believes this sentence represents. She also said that ERC will give legal support to Juvillà so that he can appeal the sentence.

La portavoz de ERC Marta Vilalta / ACN

ERC spokesperson Marta Vilalta / ACN

Vilalta also called for a consensus to establish a mechanism to defend the rights of MPs: "The final solution lies in politics. The repression and the obsessive persecution of the independence movement must end," she said, adding that the final solution must be an amnesty and self-determination.


Juvillà, to appeal six-month ban

The High Court of Catalonia (TSJC) announced this morning that it had found Pau Juvillà guilty of disobedience of the electoral commission, and banned him from public office for six months as well as ordering a fine of 12 euros per day for 3 months (1,080 euros). His specific offence was having repeatedly failed to take down the yellow ribbons that were hung from his office in the Paeria de Lleida during the 2019 general election campaign, when he was a city councillor.

The electoral board's instructions, according to the court, were "a clear and precise mandate, which did not deserve any clarification, and the reasons given were rejected and understood." 

However, the sentence imposed was the minimum possible penalty for the crime of disqualification from public office (six months), as well as in the fine (1,080 euros), because thec ourt admits that hanging up the ribbons for more than a month "had a limited impact" and “it cannot be said to have reached a severity worthy of greater punishment.”

Pau Juvillà has announced that he will appeal to the Supreme Court. He also appeared Parliament, accompanied by his CUP colleagues, asserting that the response must be collective, and urged the pro-independence parties to defend his seat while the sentence is not final. He also said that he would make himself available to the pro-independence movement to "build a common anti-repression front", and said that Parliament should exercise its sovereignty.

He also stressed that it was an act of disobedience that would be repeated "a thousand times" and noted that the act had a political signficance. The decision was taken collectively, he said, so the response should also be collective.



In the featured image, Pau Juvillà and Laura Borràs / ACN