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There is discomfort in the progressive sector of the Spanish judiciary and in the ranks of the governing Socialist (PSOE) party after the decision of the country's Constitutional Court to reject the appeals of exiled Catalan politicians Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín against their prosecution for serious misuse of funds and disobedience. The feeling is that the conservative bloc of the court used a back-door method to bypass ordinary judicial procedures and thus acted against the interests of the pro-independence leaders. The matter takes on even more importance if we take into account that the party of the two MEPs in exile, Together for Catalonia (Junts), is a key element in the equation to constitute the Bureau of Congress, next Thursday, and for the hypothetical investiture of a new government in the weeks after that. In this regard, the acting defence minister, Margarita Robles, pointed out this Thursday that the "reasonable" thing would have been for the court to have waited for the meeting of the full court to decide on an appeal of "political and legal significance" such as that presented by Puigdemont and Comín. Instead, the task was taken on by the court's Sala de Vacaciones ("holiday chamber"), which hears urgent matters during the vacational month of August, and happens to have a conservative majority. 

"It would have been prudent if it had not been the Sala de Vacaciones that had resolved it", the minister asserted in statements she made during a visit to the Retamares military base, near Madrid. Robles, a judge by profession, recalled that these types of sections must deal with "matters of pure formality, of minor impact", in contrast to the Constitutional Court plenary, which is an "essential" body made up of twelve judges. "It has an importance which is not only political, but also legal", declared the minister.

The clarity with which the acting defence boss Robles stated her views on the subject contrasts with the prudence shown by her colleague, acting presidency minister Félix Bolaños, who expressed "respect" for the court's resolution rejecting the appeal in question. The right-hand man of Pedro Sánchez transferred "all respect to the Constitutional Court's resolution" and avoided giving any appraisal of "the ruling, the dissenting vote or the decision of the prosecutors to appeal". "I am sure that all the resolutions adopted by the Constitutional Court will be in accordance with the law", concluded Bolaños.

Discomfort in the progressive section of the court itself

The rapidity and haste of the Constitutional Court's "holiday chamber" in rejecting the appeals of Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín for constitutional protection against their prosecution caused perplexity among other judges who are part of the plenary of the very same court: in an interview with radio station Cadena SER this Thursday, the progressive judge María Luisa Balaguer described this decision as "unusual" and admitted that it could "cause astonishment" due to the fact that this section of the Constitutional Court "resolves practically nothing", with the exception of matters of "a different nature". Although the court has always ruled against the interests of imprisoned and exiled pro-independence activists, the court had always admitted their appeals, which is the preliminary step before the plenary gathering studies them in depth. The public prosecutors' appeal will force the matter to be debated in the ordinary Constitutional Court session at a date in September or later.