The president of the Parliament, Laura Borràs, has no intention of leaving office despite her prosecution for corruption. This is how Borràs wanted to make it clear this Tuesday in an extraordinary appearance in the Chamber, in which she has charged against all the opposition parties that demand a step aside to protect the institution. “I do not resign. I will not give up”, said the president of Junts.
Borràs is increasingly cornered by her corruption case. The Prosecutor’s Office will specify in the coming days the prison sentences requested of Borràs for the division of contracts to allegedly benefit his friend Isaías H. in his time at the head of the Institució de les Lletres Catalanes (ILC), between the years 2013 and 2018. Borràs is prosecuted for the crimes of embezzlement, prevarication, false documentation and fraud against the administration.
Once the Anticorruption accusation has been formalized, the judge will be able to open an oral trial against Borràs. This will be the critical moment for the president of the Parliament, since the regulations of the Chamber stipulate the suspension of any deputy who is facing an oral trial for corruption crimes. This procedural moment could arrive even before the August holidays.
The opposition as a whole demands the resignation of Borràs due to the need to preserve the dignity of the Parliament and not to confuse the institution with the strategy of self-defense. For their part, the ERC and the CUP avoid explicitly requesting Borràs’ resignation, although they are already preparing to drop it once the opening of the oral trial is final. Only Junts publicly supports Borràs, although privately, sectors of the party confirm that the judicial situation of the recently elected president of the formation causes a wear on the brand.
After several days of silence and hammering from the opposition, Borràs wanted to respond to all the parties, especially his theoretical pro-independence partners, although without expressly citing them. “I have no intention of stepping aside in the face of those who claim, with little ability to hide, that what they want is to remove me from political life,” he asserted.
“I am innocent”, Borràs has insisted on proclaiming, who has not referred to the barrage of evidence that weighs against him, from compromising emails with his friend to the reports of the Intervention of the Generalitat in which he warned of the excess of finger contracts in the ILC, going through the audios in which the president of the Parliament asked an official to notify her if the Mossos returned to the headquarters of the entity.
“It is thinking about the dignity of the Parliament that I think I will not resign”, Borràs defended, to immediately disfigure the political parties that have promoted “an interested debate” about his continuity at the head of the Chamber.
In line with his usual argument, Borràs has presented himself as a victim and has accused his critics of “omitting the context of repression” against the independence movement. Although Borràs is not being investigated for any activity linked to the procés, the leader of Junts has assured that the case “would not have gone so far” if she had not been investigated.
“I condemn the fact that they want to take advantage of the authoritarian activity of the Justice to separate me politically before being judged”, Borràs has stressed, stressing that he is not denouncing the alleged “political persecution” to evade his responsibilities, but because, in his opinion, it is victim of a “prospective investigation”.
On a legal level, Borràs tries to gain time. Last Friday, the leader of Junts asked the judge to consult the Constitutional Court (TC) before sending her to trial – the critical moment to maintain her institutional position – if she can be judged by a popular jury, despite the fact that the crime of prevarication for which she is being prosecuted should be tried by a magistrates’ court and not by a jury. It should be remembered that Ella Borràs did not ask for a jury the first time she was prosecuted.
Aware that his judicial future is a sword of Damocles in his political career, Borràs has been promoting for months a reform of the Parliament’s regulations to shield himself in office at least until the case is sentenced, not before the trial. The Parliament’s lawyers endorse Borràs’s position, since from a legal and guarantee perspective they believe that depriving a deputy of his status without a final judgment does not respect the presumption of innocence.
The parties do not intend for Borràs to be an exception to the Parliament’s regulations and they have already shown him the exit door of the Chamber. At the moment Borràs is reluctant to transfer it voluntarily. Time (and the regulations) will tell when he must do it.