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The Constitutional Court suspends the referendum law urgently

The court notices the 948 Catalan mayors and 62 positions of the Generalitat that they can not participate in the organization of the 1-O

The Constitutional Court has suspended last night in a precautionary manner the Referendum Law passed on Wednesday by the Parliament of Catalonia and the decrees signed for the self-determination consultation on October 1. The organ chaired by Juan José González Rivas met urgently in the afternoon after receiving the four challenges formulated by the Government against the content of the regulation, against the decree of convocation signed by the Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, and against the appointment of the five members of the Electoral Trusteeship.

The Constitutional Court has also agreed to personally warn the 948 Catalan mayors, at least 62 senior officials of the Generalitat, those responsible for the Mossos and the Catalan public media, among others, who remind them of the duty to obey the prohibition of participate in the organization of the 1-O referendum. And they are warned that, if they do not comply with the prohibition, they face even criminal responsibilities.

The court has agreed to the personal notification of the resolution to all of them and reminds them of their “duty to prevent or paralyze any initiative that implies ignoring or avoiding the agreed suspension”. However, it has not responded to the Executive’s request to deduce testimony [open criminal proceedings] against the president of the Generalitat, Carles Puigdemont, and the councilors who signed the call.

The precautionary suspension of those resolutions is automatic once the Constitutional Court – joined for an hour and a half – has admitted the Government’s briefs for processing. However, neither the admission to proceedings nor the precautionary suspension determine the meaning of the ruling on the merits of all cases, although the Government has requested the nullity of all of them.

The high court has admitted to process the incident of execution of sentence presented by the Government against the agreements of the Bureau of Parlament that gave course to the law of the Referendum in the autonomic Chamber. The central executive challenged the agreements for admission to the procedure, which refused to reconsider this admission; those who introduced the debate and vote in the agenda of the plenary session of September 6, which allowed to suppress the essential procedures of the parliamentary procedure and all the subsequent acts. The Government understands that these decisions of the Mesa de Parlament go against the ruling of the Constitutional of December 2, 2015 that annulled the sovereignty declaration that opened the process of secession.

The Constitutional Court has transferred its decision to the Office of the Prosecutor and to the President of the Parliament, Carme Forcadell, to which she has allowed to appear in the proceedings, as she requested on Wednesday in her brief recusing the twelve magistrates of the Constitutional Court, maneuver that has been rejected.

The Plenary of the Constitutional Court has rejected outright Thursday “impertinent and abusive” the challenge against its 12 judges made on Wednesday by the president of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, according to legal sources. The Plenary, chaired by Juan José González Rivas, has dismissed the Forcadell maneuver without even admitting it. The president of the regional legislature had presented the challenge against all magistrates in a general way without linking it to a specific cause minutes before the Parliamentary Bureau gave course to the debate and approval of the Catalan Referendum Law.

The plenary notes that the challenge is “generically formulated” and that although it is directed against the 12 magistrates, it is “directed to the organ itself and not to its members.” The order recalls that the Constitutional Court is a unique body of its kind, unrelated to the Judiciary, and that its 12 magistrates can not be substituted internally. The Court notes that a challenge to all its members “lacks legal substantivity and is not entitled to a decision on the merits”.

To admit the recusal in block, affirms the car, “would suppose an unacceptable paralyzation of the exercise of the constitutional jurisdiction”. The court recalls that the cases of disqualification directed against the group of judges have been described as “impertinent and abusive” in other cases and “should be rejected without further ado”.

In the same letter, Forcadell had asked to be present in the event of the execution of the sentence promoted by the Government against the admission to proceedings of the Referendum Law, which had not yet occurred at that time. The Court decided in its order to postpone its decision on the characterization of Forcadell in this open procedure against the breach of the Constitutional ruling of December 2, 2015 in which it annulled the Parliamentary independence resolution that opened the constituent process in Catalonia.

Carme Forcadell, investigated for allowing two resolutions to be voted in favor of the independence referendum in Catalonia, on Wednesday recorded the recusal of the 12 members of the Constitutional Court for “lack of impartiality.” The appeal sought to delay the response of the High Court (whose plenary session was already held in Madrid) to the decision of the separatists to start processing that same day the Law of the referendum in the Parlament.

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