The Congress experienced yesterday a surreal sequence due to the stubbornness of the president of the Chamber, the socialist Meritxell Batet, to delay the Supreme Court and not execute for now the sentence that disqualifies the deputy of Podemos Alberto Rodríguez. Therefore, Batet yesterday kept open the challenge to the Criminal Chamber of the high court without complying with the court ruling and without expelling him from the Chamber. Although Batet is fully aware that sooner or later he will have to execute the sentence and deprive Rodríguez of the seat, yesterday he gave a “kick to continue” to the process without even getting formally involved. First, he called a meeting of the Table and forced a vote, in which the majority composed of PSOE and Podemos proposed to demand a clarification from the Supreme Court to buy time and keep the institutional pulse active. Later, Batet sent his letter to the Supreme Court asking for clarification, which is absurd because both the sentence and the letter sent by the court to Congress, claiming to know when it was executed, are clear in this regard. Furthermore, it is equally absurd because the Table does not have any competence to request clarifications of any kind from the judges. Batet is the only one competent for it. And to protect himself legally against any eventual accusation of obstruction of justice or disobedience, he did not even vote. The logical thing is that in the next few hours this unnecessary conflict between the powers of the State, which is causing profound institutional wear and tear, will be resolved. Batet knows very well that there is nothing to clarify, and Rodríguez should leave the seat in the next few hours, without further delay.
The underlying issue, in any case, is not legal, but political. Neither Batet, nor the parliamentary groups, nor the lawyers of Congress, nor any professor are the authority to reinterpret a sentence of the Supreme Court. Yes, it is legitimate for lawyers, like any other jurist, to believe that the sentence is interpretable. But for that is the right of Rodríguez to file an appeal before the Constitutional Court and request in a precautionary and extraordinary way the suspension of the execution of the sentence to keep his seat. That decision would be made by another Court, never by Batet, no matter how dissatisfied it may be with Rodríguez’s ruling. Therefore, it is not the most intelligent nor the most loyal of powers for the president of Congress, the third authority of the State, to discuss its decisions with the Supreme Court, confront him and try to delay his resolutions just so as not to irritate Podemos or put in risk the coalition. Batet has a legal obligation, and to breach it is to disobey. And the risk of declaring itself insubordinate, as Forcadell, Torrent or Atutxa did in their day to protect the Catalan independence movement or the party heir to Batasuna, would also place Batet before a probably disabling judicial process.
In addition, his reinterpretation of the sentence has a more political and ideological than legal intention: to impose an alleged moral superiority of the sanchismo to strike a blow of authority over any other institution, beyond the separation of powers. However, and even if he believes it, Pedro Sánchez is not the maximum interpreter of the law. Even simpler: challenge the Supreme Court not to drop an icon of Podemos at the gates of the approval of the budgets. But he has every sign of losing it. Rodríguez, a true symbol of the arrival of an anti-system party to Congress, must leave with dishonor. By delinquent. For being a police assailant. And even more humiliating, for being someone who wants to appropriate the seat, portraying himself as a boss of the same caste who claims to fight.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism