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Democracy with Spanish characteristics again

by IdiotSavant Thu Jun 20th, 2019 at 10:00:39 PM EST

Last month, Catalans elected three exiled and jailed pro-independence politicians to the European Parliament. Unfortunately, Spain no longer seems to respect the results of democratic elections, and the Spanish Electoral Commission today declared their seats vacant. The reason? None of them had made the required oath to uphold the Spanish constitution before the Electoral Commission. But in all three cases, it is because the Spanish state did not permit them to.

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger


Oriol Junqueras's case is the most outrageous. He is currently in pre-trial detention awaiting the verdict of his show-trial for "rebellion" and "sedition" for supporting the Catalan people's right to vote in an independence referendum. He was unable to make the required oath because the court refused to permit him to do so, regarding it as a threat to the trial process (MEPs gain immunity from prosecution, meaning that he could not be sentenced). The democratic process? Apparently unimportant. The exiles, Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín, are in a different situation: they face arrest if they return to Spain, so they swore the oath before a notary in Belgium, and additionally sent their lawyer to the Election Commission to provide it by proxy - a process which the Commission has apparently deemed acceptable in the past. But as we've seen throughout this struggle, the rules change depending on what advantages the Spanish state, and it was refused.

Spain has used an arbitrary procedural barrier to thwart the expressed will of the Catalan people. It is naturally going to the European courts, and hopefully they will be able to restore democracy in Spain.

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It will be interesting to see how EU:s courts handles this. The election of the MEPs is mostly a state competency, but when a state starts deselecting elected MEPs, the EU level must act or be eroded.
by fjallstrom on Fri Jun 21st, 2019 at 10:22:26 AM EST
The Spanish state seems determined to inflame the Catalan situation by all means possible. The immunity offered by election to the European parliament could have allowed the Spanish state to save face by declaring their actions illegal and yet avoid creating new martyrs for the cause of separatism.

I am not in favour, in principle, of a further splintering of the European state structure and hope that, over time, EU integration can make inter state differences less rather than more important. But the Spanish state seems hell bent on justifying Catalan separatism at every opportunity.

It's a pity the newly strengthened Socialist government don't seem to have made a difference yet... although I could be missing vital information on what is going on.


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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jun 21st, 2019 at 12:30:28 PM EST
Spain is in backlash mode, after the insane attempt to declare Catalan independence unilaterally. The net result has been a knee-jerk nationalist reaction from voters, resulting in the electoral breakthrough of the extreme right, and a legitimist reaction on the left, with the PSOE, under suspicion of being hostage to the various regionalisms, playing the centralist card... and winning. I see parallels with Labour and Brexit in the UK, somewhat hostage to their electorate.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Jun 26th, 2019 at 02:57:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The parallels with Brexit are closer on the Catalan separatist side. Unicorns, cherry picking, cakeism, petty nationalism, a fig leaf for a corrupt political elite with ties to tax havens, and a strong upswell of revolutionary popular support well short of the required majority to carry its project through. The PSOE and Podemos are not somewhat hostage to their electorate here. They have lost big to Ciudadanos, Vox, and abstention.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 4th, 2019 at 08:26:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain has bought off on Make Spain Great Again, with all the Francoist cancers bundled with that package.
by rifek on Thu Jul 4th, 2019 at 12:52:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a pretty sad state of affairs, but thankfully the swivel-eyed nationalists, both in Catalonia and in Sain as a whole, are short of majorities.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 4th, 2019 at 03:33:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So was Franco.
by rifek on Thu Jul 4th, 2019 at 08:44:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course the newly strengthened socialist government has not made much of a difference. Spain has an independent, majority Francoist, judiciary. You read it here first: The bunker in the Spanish judiciary (2007)

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 4th, 2019 at 08:19:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rather like the judiciary in the US.
by rifek on Thu Jul 4th, 2019 at 12:49:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Consider what the commitment to that idea entails for Spain or US or European constituencies. Divesting themselves of at least "constitutional" monarchy has been a long-term project for some, not all. Evidently it is much more difficult than disavowing catholicism, wouldn't you agree?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Jul 4th, 2019 at 03:47:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By analogy, imagine if the UK were to require Sinn Fein's MEP to swear an oath to Her Majesty... They wouldn't even need to lock her up :)

The amusing thing is that the secessionists apparently have no problem about swearing to uphold the Spanish constitution, even after their failed coup d'état. But of course they should be allowed to do so, and the political activism of Spain's courts is unconscionable, as always.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Jun 26th, 2019 at 10:24:42 AM EST
The parallels between the case of the Catalan separatists and Sinn Féin are numerous. Sinn Féin MPs don't take their seats so as not to swear fealty to the Queen, even if doing so harms Irish interests around Brexit. But a more relevant parallel is that of Bobby Sands who got himself elected to Westminster from prison in 1981, much to the shock of the British establishment who immediately legislated to prevent prisoners from standing in elections. Of course the case of Junqueras is outrageous because he is being held pre-emotive during the trial and has not in fact been found guilty of anything by the court.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 4th, 2019 at 08:08:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The case of Junqueras is indeed outrageous. Those of Puigdemont and Comin, less so. But the Spanish Supreme Court has lodged a pre-judicial inquiry with the European Court of Justice, so we'll see what comes out of that.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 4th, 2019 at 07:58:53 AM EST


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