October 19, 2021

The Tampa Herald

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Spain in a state of alarm due to a pandemic, was declared unconstitutional

2 min read

The Constitutional Court of Spain declared unconstitutional the first state of alarm decreed by the Government in March 2020 to combat the pandemic, legal sources reported.

The decision was very tight and had the vote in favor of five judges from the conservative bloc and that of the vice president of the Court, Encarnación Roca, while three judges from the progressive court and two from the conservative sector voted against the ruling.

The high court determined that the legal umbrella to adopt the general confinement of the population should have been the state of exception and not the state of alarm, which was declared from March 14 to June 21, 2020.

After several plenary sessions of deliberation, finally the vote of the vice president was decisive to tip the balance in favor of these five judges of the conservative bloc, while the other five maintained their position that the Spanish Government acted correctly by opting for the state of alarm to decree home confinement.

According to these sources, the presentation of the magistrate Pedro González went ahead, which decrees the unconstitutionality of the state of alarm and both the content of the sentence and the foreseeable individual votes will be known in the coming days.

After knowing this decision of the Constitutional Court, the Spanish Government expressed its respect and also its surprise at its unprecedented nature and has reaffirmed the need for this measure.

While the far-right Vox party, which presented an appeal, applauded the decision for considering it “the greatest violation of rights in history” and the conservative Popular Party (PP) considered that it is a sign of the mismanagement that the Spanish Executive made of the pandemic.

Both the PP and Vox, which initially supported the state of alarm, were very critical of the successive extensions of the same that were debated in Congress last year, considering that fundamental rights were being violated.

The Spanish Constitution provides for states of alarm, exception and siege in extraordinary and serious situations. The state of alarm can be declared by the Government for a maximum of fifteen days, extendable with authorization from the Congress of Deputies or the lower house of the Spanish Parliament.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, in addition to that first period from March to June of last year, another state of alarm was declared for fifteen days in October 2020 in some municipalities of the Madrid region and then for all of Spain from 25 of that month, which was extended until May 9, 2021.

States of exception and siege have not been declared in Spain since the promulgation of the 1978 Constitution with the recovery of democracy in the country.

The state of exception can be declared by the Government only with prior authorization from Congress and for a maximum of thirty days that can only be extended for another equal period, while the state of siege has to be declared by the Lower House and only if it is previously proposed. the Executive.


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