Tuesday, November 28

The oath of Princess Eleanor will influence the call for elections in 2023




In two years, on October 31, 2023, Princess Eleanor will turn 18. That same day, as stated in the Spanish Constitution, the Princess of Asturias must take an oath to the Magna Carta in a joint session of the Plenary of Congress and the Senate meeting in the Cortes Generales: «The Crown Prince, upon reaching the majority of age, and the Regent or Regents, when taking charge of their functions, will take the same oath, as well as that of fidelity to the King ”(Art. 61.2).

The ceremony of this oath has a clear precedent in our young democracy: that of Prince Felipe, who on January 30, 1986 pronounced the 29 words that continued the lineage of loyalty of the Monarchy towards the way of governing that the Spanish gave themselves in 1978.

That was not just another ceremony of the Transition, but it was clothed with all the solemnity that the occasion demanded. The President of the Government, the socialist Felipe González, called a month before a key Council of Ministers to adopt the agreement to hold the event. The presidents of Congress and the Senate, Gregorio Peces-Barba and José Federico de Carvajal, played a prominent role. And the leader of the opposition, Manuel Fraga, was promptly informed of every step that was being taken.

Oath of the then Prince Felipe, on January 30, 1986
Oath of the then Prince Felipe, on January 30, 1986 – CONGRESO.ES

It was held before the Plenary of the Cortes Generales, in no way before a Permanent Deputation of the Cortes Generales. In the Carrera de San Jerónimo, after the oath, there was a parade of the Royal Guard and the Congress of Deputies adorned itself. That ceremony was precisely the one that formally inspired the Proclamation of Felipe VI on June 19, 2014.

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Academy of Jurisprudence

In this way, the current Executive of the PSOE-Podemos coalition will see how the current legislature enters its final stretch – if it runs out – with the duty to celebrate an act that it could coincide with a pre-campaign or electoral campaign. The last elections were held on November 10, 2019.

Regarding all the complexity that may lie ahead, and to give enough room to the Government and the Presidents of Congress and Senate, Meritxell Batet and Ander Gil in their decision-making –two years still to go–, the Royal Academy of Jurisprudence and Legislation will illuminate this Monday his solemn opening of the course with a speech on “the constitutional and parliamentary aspects of the oath of Princess Eleanor.”

The conference will be delivered on State attorney and academic Luis María Cazorla Prieto, who was secretary general of the Congress of Deputies (1982-1988) and senior lawyer of the Cortes Generales (1983-1988) when Don Felipe swore allegiance to the Spanish Constitution.

Felipe VI and the Princess of Asturias, in a ceremony at the Royal Palace of Madrid
Felipe VI and the Princess of Asturias, in a ceremony at the Royal Palace of Madrid

The substratum of his speech –obviously, not yet revealed– is already included in an 82-page book published by the Royal Academy of Jurisprudence and Legislation itself. “It has been chosen to choose this theme to shed light on the legal nature, the constitutional and parliamentary custom already established as a source of law and the necessary legal complements so that article 61.2 can be applied a second time. Obviously it is an issue that should start working now, “explains a source from the Royal Academy of Jurisprudence and Legislation.

Election time

In addition, at the time of the oath of the Princess of Asturias there will be another political variable –Without legal consequences– such as the Spanish Presidency of the EU during the second half of 2023.

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In the book of the academic number Luis María Cazorla, the seventh chapter is dedicated to the “Election time” or possible scenarios that the Government, the General Courts and the House of His Majesty the King may find to organize the oath.

Here is the substance of that chapter on page 79: «In conclusive and compressed words, so that the oath of Doña Leonor takes place before the joint meeting of the Plenary of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate gathered in General Courts as mandated by the constitutional text there are two alternatives:

-Or the Congress of Deputies and the Senate are dissolved with sufficient notice for the new Chambers to be duly constituted, or

-The mandate of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate is extended until its expiration, that is, until November 10, 2021, without prejudice to the fact that the electoral convocation has already taken place previously.

We are facing an option with notable political consequences to which the current legal-constitutional order in its entirety leads.

After the swearing in of Don Felipe, there was a parade of the Armed Forces before a decorated Congress
After the swearing in of Don Felipe there was a parade of the Armed Forces before a decorated Congress – CONGRESO.ES

The intention (and interest) of the PSOE-Podemos executive to extend the legislature as much as possible so that the effects of the economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic are noticed as much as possible.

Given that Spain holds the aforementioned Presidency of the EU in the second half of 2023, the plausible scenario remains that the Executive of President Sánchez is the first to extend the mandate of the Cortes Generales until the exact four years, on 10 November 2023. It would thus allow the Crown Princess to be sworn in before the plenary sessions of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate with all its constitutional functions. With that logic, elections would be held on December 10, 2023, signing the call on October 16.

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