The Reserved Expenditure Loans Control Commission last met in March 2019, commonly known as the State Secrets Commission. Center (CNI). Three years and two legislatures later, a spy scandal involving 66 pro-independence leaders uncovered by the Citizen Lab research team forced Congress President Meritxell Butet on Tuesday to unblock said commission, whose members were still to be elected by three-fifths of the lower house plenum. – 210 deputies – who made it difficult to reach an agreement, and who will now be elected by an absolute majority, 176 out of 350 seats.
Sources in the Presidium of the Congress, consulted by elDiario.es, explained that after the decision of Batet, which will be approved at the last minute by a majority of the Bureau and the Council of Spokesmen, the new members of the commission will be elected on Thursday. during an extraordinary plenary meeting to be held specifically for the establishment of the aforementioned body.
Once the adaptation of the Standing Orders proposed by Batet is approved, a new Council of Representatives will take place this Wednesday and will schedule this extraordinary plenary meeting for the Thursday immediately following the scheduled regular plenary meeting. And then the deputies will be able to decide which groups will have representation in the commission – groups are selected, not deputies.
The government’s idea is to include the ERC, which was already present in previous legislatures, and EH Bildu, two groups whose deputies were spied on by the Pegasus system, in addition to Plural, with the intention of joining Junts, whose two deputies also became victims of espionage.
With this new system, the government will be able to fulfill one of the commitments made on Sunday by the Presidency Minister Félix Bolaños to the Generalitat of Catalonia and include the parties that make up the Catalan government, the ERC and the Junts, in the aforementioned commission, as well as other parties with veto power such as EH Bildu . And all this to try to resolve the controversy caused by information about espionage through the Pegasus system that only governments can get.
Overcome the “current block”
“A committee to oversee reserved spending loans should have been set up from the start of the legislature,” Batet recalled in a media speech. “Therefore, it is a democratic anomaly that two and a half years after it began, the commission cannot be formed due to the lack of necessary agreements,” he stressed. He said that his “will was to enforce this constitution” and to do so he met with various groups, although he confirmed the impossibility of forming a commission.
Batet recalled the Decree of the President of 11 May 2004, which “establishes, in the first place, that the government will provide the collected information” on matters of state secrets “to a deputy from each parliamentary group”, for which “this provides for the representation of all parliamentary groups” in commissions. The President of the Congress also stated that “the current regulation is the result of a clear desire that all parliamentary groups have a deputy who can access classified information.”
“Currently, a veto by various parliamentary groups prevents the establishment of a Reserve Costs Commission due to failure to comply with this basic mandate of the resolution. Therefore, Parliament cannot assume control over official secrets and reserved spending, which invalidates the constitutional mandate to control the activities of the government, which I believe should be a priority: Parliament should control the government,” he added.
However, “with the aim of overcoming the current blockade, allowing the exercise of the constitutional functions of the Congress and at the same time maintaining the fundamental principle of the current regulation of access of all parliamentary groups with which the resolutions of the previous ones were carried out” Bathe substantiated “the proposal for a new resolution in order to obtain a positive opinion, so that the election of representatives parliamentary groups in its composition became an absolute majority.
“This modification is consistent with previous modifications, all aimed at ensuring the political plurality of the Chamber, the principle of representation and the principle of participation, with the explicit desire that all parliamentary groups have representation in said Chamber. Commission. Ultimately, we are talking about agreeing, on the one hand, on the requirement for the plenum to elect deputies with the right of access to secret information by a qualified majority, and on the other hand, on the presence of a deputy in each parliamentary group. concluded
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