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The Constitutional Court criticizes the Andalusian parliament for the “innovation” of the regulations it used to expel Teresa Rodríguez.

On November 18, 2020, the Andalusian parliament expelled Teresa Rodríguez and eight other deputies from the Adelante Andalusian group on charges of “covering up”, claiming that they had abandoned Podemos, one of the group’s founding parties, but remained in charge. Parliamentary coalition from other political formations (anti-capitalists).

Those who were expelled became disobedient deputies and applied to the Constitutional Court for protection due to the violation of the fundamental rights of political representation. Three years later, the justice ruled in their favor, overturning the decision of the Autonomous Chamber and ordering the restoration of the plaintiffs’ rights.

In practice, the decision will have no effect, because these rights are limited to the last legislature, and in the current mandate none of them – except one – are already part of the new parliament.

The decision was announced last week, but the Constitutional Court notified the parties of the decision this Tuesday. The 34-page text, which this newspaper had access to, includes in its legal arguments a very harsh criticism of the Andalusian parliamentary council, then headed by Marta Bosquet (Ciudadanos), whom it accuses of “overstepping its interpretive autonomy”. The regulation is then in force,” using the most restrictive question possible to strip the nine Adelante MPs of their political rights.

“contrary to jurisprudence”

The Andalusian Parliament based the expulsion of Teresa Rodríguez and the other eight deputies on a specific reasoning: that the voluntary withdrawal of their political party (Vamos) automatically meant the withdrawal of the parliamentary group of which they were a part (Adelante Andalucía).

The ruling violates this reasoning, first because it is “contrary to constitutional jurisprudence” and second because it was not even part of the House’s statutes at the time of the expulsion, so the judges insult council members who “innovate.” interpretation ad hoc To justify the operation against Rodriguez.

The guarantee body warns that the voluntary withdrawal of a party leading to the immediate withdrawal of a parliamentary group “cannot be accepted from the perspective of the right to political representation, as it implies ignoring constitutional jurisprudence on the essential differences that exist between parties.” Party politician and parliamentary group”.

“This translation,” adds the decision, “is meant to confuse two perfectly differentiated political entities, such as a political party and a parliamentary group.” “More pronounced confusion” in this case, because the expelled deputies did not participate in the elections in the name of Podemos, but in the abbreviation of the coalition of five parties – Adelante Andalucía – from which arose the parliamentary group that also responds to the “multiparty formation”.

“Without respect for the majority of the group”

The Constitutional Court condemns that this interpretation “goes beyond the literal wording of Article 24 of the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure”, which regulates the acquisition of the status of a non-attached deputy, but does not consider the reasons why a deputy can leave the group. Parliamentary.

The judges acknowledge that this “regulatory silence does not prevent us from assessing the possibility of an eventual involuntary exit due to exclusion from the group”, but caution that the decision must respect the democratic principle of group majority decision. that “in this case it would not have been verified”.

At the time, Adelante Andalucia had 17 MPs and nine were expelled at the request of one member, the group’s spokeswoman, Inmaculada Nieto (IU), who is handling the complaint for the “turnover” on behalf of Podemos. The ruling cites a precedent in the same legislature: the expulsion of Vox Luz MP Belinda Rodríguez, who had the signatures of her group’s then-speaker and the 10 remaining members of her group.

“Innovation in Parliamentary Regulations”

The Andalusian Parliamentary Council supported the expulsion of Teresa Rodríguez and her companions by interpreting its internal regulations, which, according to the Constitutional Court, “represent an innovation in parliamentary regulations that contradicts the subordinate nature of the work of its interpreter and implementer.” .”

That is, the Chamber of Andalusia exceeded “the limits of its regulatory autonomy”, which, according to constitutional jurisprudence, is Article 23.2 of the Magna Carta, which recognizes the political representation rights of deputies.

The judges also recall that the argument that the voluntary withdrawal of a political party implies the automatic withdrawal of a parliamentary group did not exist in the parliamentary regulations at the time of the expulsion of Adelante MPs. But it is literally included in the reform of the bylaws, which the parliament quickly approved in April 2021, a year after the expulsion of the nine Adelante MPs.

The Court concludes that the Andalusian Parliament violated the political rights of the plaintiffs, who became non-modern deputies, seeing that the essential core of their representative function was affected “accordingly and accuses the Legislative Chamber of doing so” by interpreting and applying the regulations of the Parliament, which contradicted the regulations in force at the time.

The assessment of the protection appeal has no retroactive practical effect, the judgment warns, “given that the autonomous legislature in which the agreements were made has already been concluded.” The victims, for example, hoped that the parliament would somehow reimburse the money for the operating expenses of the group, which was kept by six Adelante MPs, after the expulsion of another nine MPs and the voluntary resignation of two more (about two million euros).

Complaint due to uncertainty

Currently, the mixed group Adelante Andalucía consists of two deputies, one José Ignacio García, who was expelled from the last legislature, and another parliamentarian who voluntarily left in protest against the expulsion (Maribel Mora).

Teresa Rodríguez, who left active politics last December, returned last week to the Andalusian parliament to evaluate the constitutional decision. A woman from Cádiz announced that she was going to file a complaint against all the members of the chamber council that approved the expulsion of her and her colleagues, claiming that “they knew it was unconstitutional because the legal services of the parliament warned in writing that it was unconstitutional. “They committed the crime knowingly,” he said.

The chamber’s legal services sent a report to board members warning that the expulsion operation would be corrected by the Constitutional Court, damaging the image of the Andalusian parliament itself.

A senior lawyer asked their honor for more “time and evidence before making a decision”: “Since this is a decision that affects the rights and interests of the nine MPs expelled from their group”, “this could be a deterrent decision. Their fundamental rights recognized under Article 23.2 in conjunction with Article 23.1 of both Constitutions”.

“Before making a decision,” the chamber’s lawyer unsuccessfully argued, the council “must recognize the right of the affected MPs to be heard and give them an appropriate hearing procedure,” because this decision goes to “the essence of the representative function of Parliament.”

Source: El Diario





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