PSOE and PP stop the attempt to open the debate in Congress on the inviolability of the King

The defense of the Monarchy has once again united the two great parties and separated the partners of the Government. As expected, PSOE and PP have added their votes this Tuesday at noon at the Congress Table to prevent a proposal for legal reform of the PNV from being admitted, which in practice meant limiting the inviolability of the King to his decisions as head of the Condition. Socialists and popular hid behind a report by the lawyers of the Chamber, which maintains that such a modification could only be made through a constitutional reform and not through the law of the Judiciary, as the Basque nationalists proposed. United We Can has been left alone in its defense that the initiative was accepted for processing and submitted for debate.

The two main parties have vetoed the PNV initiative in the absence of Vox, whose representative at the Table, Ignacio Gil-Lázaro, has not been able to attend after testing positive for covid, although his formation has always been radically opposed to reviewing the issue of inviolability. United We Can has been the only party present in the governing body of the Chamber that has defended submitting the proposal to debate, despite the contrary opinion of the lawyers.

Once the report from the legal services had been released on Monday, it was announced that the PSOE and the PP would block the initiative, as they have done in the last three years with others from nationalist groups and left-wing forces to, for example, investigate the Chamber the business of the king emeritus. According to sources from the Bureau, the first vice president, the socialist Alfonso Gómez de Celis, and the second, the popular Ana Pastor, have limited themselves to endorsing the opinion of the lawyers without entering into further discussions. Only the representative of United We Can, Javier Sánchez Serna, has expanded in asking that, despite everything, the PNV proposal be qualified and brought up for debate in plenary.

Sánchez Serna has defended that neither the Table nor the legal services of Congress should hide behind a “prior constitutional examination” to curtail the parliamentary discussion. That analysis of whether the PNV proposal fits into the doctrine of the Fundamental Law should ultimately only correspond, according to United We Can, to the Constitutional Court. The leftist formation interprets that two pronouncements of this in 2019 indicate that the inviolability of the King is not absolute. Article 56.3 of the Constitution reads: “The person of the King is inviolable and is not subject to responsibility.” That article was also invoked by the Prosecutor’s Office to rule out criminal actions against Juan Carlos I for having hidden his fortune abroad from the Spanish Treasury for years.

The PNV proposal sought to limit the legal protection of the monarch to his acts as head of state and not to particular behaviors such as those that motivated the investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office of the king emeritus. The Basque nationalists proposed to reform the law of the Judiciary to establish that the monarchs will be protected before the Supreme Court against any eventual complaint about their private actions, a way to establish that the legal shield of the Head of State does not cover their behavior particular. The lawyers of Congress, on the other hand, understand that the total inviolability of the King is enshrined in the Constitution and, therefore, cannot be modified through an organic law, but would require a reform of the Basic Law. Hence, they recommended not processing the initiative of the Basque group.

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Aitor Esteban, spokesman for the PNV, has charged this Tuesday against the Casa del Rey ―”if what La Zarzuela wants is to remain stagnant, it seems to me that it will not have any future”, he has said― and also against the socialists. “The key is the PSOE, by refusing to process the bill it is doing itself a disservice,” Esteban declared on Radio Euskadi. The nationalist spokesman has highlighted that in the debates to prepare the Constitution, the rapporteurs of the parties never stated that the inviolability of the King was absolute.

Gerardo Pisarello, first secretary of the Table and member of United We Can, was unable to attend the meeting although he had previously recorded his discomfort in a message on Twitter, in which he took the position of the PSOE and PP for granted: “The The Spanish Constitution does not say that inviolability is equivalent to impunity or that the monarch scoffs when they ask for explanations”, commented Pisarello, one of the UP leaders most critical of the monarchy, to which he has even dedicated a book, Stop being subjects. “Preventing the legal regulation of the King’s responsibility is typical of a medieval, non-parliamentary monarchy”, the first secretary of the Table has sentenced.

Another nationalist group that usually supports the government, the PDeCAT, has also charged against the “anachronistic” and “incomprehensible” situation in which the head of state cannot be prosecuted for his actions outside the institution. “If it is necessary to change the Constitution, let the PSOE and PP agree, but this is not typical of the 21st century,” said the Catalan group’s spokesman, Ferran Bel.

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