Coalition on a knife’s edge

JxCat and ERC pro-independence parties put forward different formulas for prosecuted MPs to hand over parliamentary rights while session is adjourned

Today was another unprecedented day in parliament, with the efforts to preserve the agreement between the Junts per Catalunya and ERC pro-independence parties to allow the MPs being prosecuted to hold on to their parliamentary rights, and the two parties to keep their majority, which was still unclear when this issue went to press.

Even though the announcement of the agreement was done jointly between the spokesmen of the JxCat and ERC parties, the weakness of the deal was evident in that it basically included two different reactions to the court order to suspend the MPs. The relationship was at a low point, which the opposition parties seized on as the plenary session was adjourned.

The dilemma is whether to uphold the sovereignty of the Catalan parliament, which opted not to suspend the MPs, or to comply with the Supreme Court order to suspend the MPs and appoint substitutes.

The talks between Junts per Catalunya and ERC went on for six hours, with the differences between the two coalition partners becoming obvious when Junts per Catalunya announced it would continue to delegate the votes of the jailed and exiled MPs, as it has done since before the court order. However, this formula, while avoiding the court order on the basis of parliament’s sovereignty, did not take into consideration the point introduced by ERC, to avoid legal action, that a substitute must be designated.

Parliament speaker Roger Torrent would only allow the formula in which the MPs affected could cede their rights to another MP. Esquerra believes that this formula will avoid further accusations and will unblock the stalemate in parliament.

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