With the end of the summer break in sight, the Catalan Parliament is already starting to resume its political activity. And it will do so in a state far from normal, due to the interim status that currently surrounds the institution. Indeed, this is shown by the fact that the first matter that the Catalan chamber will have to debate at the beginning of this new political term will be whether it accepts that Laura Borràs returns to the speaker's role. At the end of July, she was suspended after the Catalan High Court ruled that she must stand trial in the case of the split contracts used to expedite the hiring and payment of an employee when she was director of a public cultural body, the Institute of Catalan Letters.
On August 16th, the first working day of the Catalan Parliament's new term, Junts didn't waste a moment to get down to business and register a request before the chamber procedural body, the Bureau, to reconsider the suspension of Laura Borràs. Her party asserts that the decision taken violates her fundamental rights, specifically the presumption of innocence, the right to political participation and the principle of legal certainty. With this request, Junts also began the path of exhausting all available administrative avenues in the Spanish system, a necessary prerequisite to an approach to European justice to reverse the situation of the party president.
The first Bureau meeting chaired by ERC
With the removal of Laura Borràs from the leadership of the Catalan chamber, it is now the Republican Left (ERC) deputy Alba Vergés who, as first deputy speaker, exercises the functions of speaker. Thus, it was her job to call the two meetings necesary to debate the request for reconsideration, both on Thursday, September 1st, with the Bureau meeting first, at 9:30am, and then the Board of Party Spokespeople of Parliament, at 10am. As Parliament reported, "the meetings will deal with the request for reconsideration presented by Junts on the agreement to suspend the rights and duties of Laura Borràs".
Pressure from Aragonès to replace Borràs
This month of August has already been fundamentally marked by the situation of the suspended speaker, with an exchange of public messages between ERC and Junts. Last Sunday, for example, the Catalan president, Pere Aragonès, warned that an excessively-long interim period for the leadership of Parliament "is not good", and for that reason he considered it necessary to "elect a new speakership". To do so, Aragonès asked Junts to comply with the Government agreement, according to which the speakership of parliament corresponds to them. Thus, he defends that Junts appoint a substitute for Borràs and, in the event that she is acquitted, "she can be reinstated".
That same afternoon, the general secretary of Junts, Jordi Turull, responded, in the same line that he has taken since the first day: refusing to take this step and, on the contrary, reminding Aragonès the other option that was on the table. "The best way to avoid this interim situation caused by PSC, ERC and the CUP is to reverse the situation", said Turull, calling on the parties to reconsider the suspension of Borràs.