Editorial ABC: Batet owes many explanations


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In 2006, the Constitutional Court protected a PSOE parliamentarian against the decision of the president of the Basque Parliament not to allow her to vote again, despite the fact that it had been verified that the Chamber’s electronic system did not collect her vote. The differences are evident with what happened to deputy Alberto Casero in Thursday’s plenary session, when he voted electronically in favor -and by mistake according to him- of the Government’s labor reform. But the TC used in its sentence an argument of common sense, applicable to Casero: the Basque deputy could not have any interest in harming her party. The same can be said of the popular deputy on this occasion. It is also convenient to start from the principle that every deputy personally and irreplaceably represents the will of their electors, so that parliamentary regulations must always be interpreted in the most favorable sense to that representativeness.

It is also evident that the PP must clarify without hesitation and step by step its actions, from the deputy’s error in voting to his subsequent efforts to correct it. Clean and clearly the truth, is what will make your complaint much more credible.

But for now the focus of this debate should be put on the performance of Meritxell Batet. She, as president of Congress, has once again shown that her position at the head of the Lower House is an extension of the interests of the PSOE. It already happened in the case of deputy Rodríguez, where, until she was put in evidence by Judge Marchena, she torpedoed the fulfillment of a judicial sentence. It seems evident that whoever fails to tell the truth in the exercise of his functions is not worthy of assuming the third magistracy of the State. Batet was not telling the truth when he said that he had consulted with the Congressional Committee about Deputy Casero’s request to vote in person and annul his telematic vote. A collegiate body, such as the Bureau, meets, deliberates and decides, and its decisions are recorded in the minutes. What it does not do is function as a personal consultation body for President Batet. If he did not consult the other members of the Table, he lied; and if he limited himself to ‘consulting’, he failed in his statutory obligations. Quite a paradox in who was exhaustive with the PP deputy.

Although the matter ends up in the TC, Batet now has to give a full explanation of the reasons why he did not apply the guarantees that parliamentarians who vote remotely have by the resolution of May 21, 2012, of the Congress Table. The fourth section of this agreement imposes -it does not suggest or authorize, but rather obliges- the Presidency of the Chamber or the body to which it delegates telephone confirmation with the parliamentarian of both the casting of the vote and its meaning. Only after this telephone verification, the telematic vote will be incorporated into the voting result.

No one called Deputy Casero to do this verification. The explanation that has circulated that this norm is in disuse does not seem very solid, because if so, it is repealed; and if it is maintained, it must be complied with. The sixth section of the 2012 resolution further compromises Batet, because it provides for the possibility that the parliamentarian who has submitted his vote electronically can go to the Chamber to vote in person. The foreseen condition to exercise this right is that the Table authorizes it. The agreement, in favor or against the request of the parliamentarian, belongs to the Board, not to President Batet individually, and must be an express and written agreement in order to be challenged before the TC. In addition, the 2012 resolution provides that if the deputy is authorized to vote in person, his telematic vote will be ‘null and not cast’, which means that the parliamentarian will be able to vote as he wishes in the face-to-face vote. Any jurist, including Batet, knows that the ‘null’ does not exist for the Law.

Batet has a serious problem of political and legal responsibility. The shadow of prevarication spreads over her. Although her behavior was not criminal, it is unworthy of a president that is due to all the parliamentarians of Congress. Politically, the validation of the labor reform has the stigma of abuse and cheating. The majority -by the slightest, but it was still the majority- of Congress did not want it and only some tricks that smelled of sectarianism have prevented the vote from faithfully reflecting the will of the Chamber, which Batet should serve with impartiality and rectitude.

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