The ruling of the Tribunal Constitucional (TC) over the Estatut of Catalunya has voted against articles regarding language, justice and taxation powers (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The cancellation of 14 of the 200 articles of the Estatut by the Constitutional court is seen as a heavy setback to those in favour of making Catalan the 'preferred' language of the state and for those hoping for an independent judiciary and to expand the tax jurisdiction. In the sentence the term nation is to stay in the preamble of the but it was made clear that this had no legal validity and repeatedly pointed to the 'indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation". Of the precepts rejected and ruled unconstitutional, the most controversial is the case of Article 6.1 which states that the language of Catalunya is Catalan. The TC has ruled that this provision, which gives preference to the Catalan language is at odds with the Constitution, which states in Article 3, states that only the official language of the state is considered. This in reference to that fact that Catalan is the language of normal and preferential use in public administrations and media in the region and it is the language used in teaching. Six of the 14 precepts rejected by the TC are related to the changes in the justice system and statutory regulation, including the creation of the Consejo de Justicia de Catalunya (CJC) as the governing body of Catalan judiciary. Other articles declared void concern the Consejo General del Poder Judicial (CGPJ), which in Article 122 of the Constitution is titled the 'governing body' of judiciary in Spain and within its terms can appoint presidents of high courts, a power which the Estatut transferred to the Consejo de Justicia de Catalunya.
Jose Montilla, president of the Generalitat has called on citizens to show their anger after the ruling by the TC over the EStatut (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). In an appearance at the Palau de la Generalitat, Montilla said he was "outraged" and called on the Catalans to come together to show their outrage. He encouraged Catalans to voice their anger in a demonstrations and has warned that they should not interpret the ruling as a position of rest of Spain against Catalunya. José Rodriguez Zapatero expressed his "disappointment" by the ruling on the statue saying that "it should never have occurred" and urged Montilla to "remake the political pact that enabled the statute." The verdict has been called irresponsible by Montilla and he was quoted as saying that it "has written one of the saddest pages in its history." The president of the Generalitat remarked that Catalunya is "a nation" and that "no court can play with the emotions and will" of the Catalan people. The president has commissioned a a group of legal experts to rule "urgently" on the scope of the TC ruling on self-government. The official statement from the Palau de la Generalitat called for the best possible political and institutional response and to defend the Catalan right to self-government, which the statue is its ultimate expression. He warned that neither he nor Catalan should think about giving up on the achievements that statue represented or on the content that was cut.
Itziar González, the former councilor of Ciutat Vella testified yesterday and told of the pressures from various sectors to not oppose the building of the Palau de la Música hotel (read article in Castilian here, El Pais). Speaking for more than an hour in front of the judge González spoke of "threatening pressures" and has provided the judge all the emails and letters received or sent about the hotel project since June 16th 2007. According to sources González told of a meeting, held on September 25th, 2008, at the request of the deputy mayor Ramon García-Bragado and Felix Millet, in which they both advised him to soften his opposition to the hotel. "I insisted much on it and he got angry with me." González referred to his wish to bring the project in front of a public process to answer the opposition of local residents, who managed to modify some of the aspects in the initial project. He also spoke of pressure from Jordi Montull, Millets, right hand man, who suggested to the councilor that he dispense with the considerations of the residents. Itziar González also referred in his statement to a letter send to mayor Jordi Hereu on the February 1st, in which he asked to freeze the build to which he received the response that it was "very difficult" to turn back.
Also in the news: Spain prepare for their match against Portugal (read full article in Castilian here, El Periodicio).