Xelo Huertas presided over the parliamentary session as usual, despite her suspension by Podemos.

08-11-2016Joan Torres

Xelo Huertas, the Podemos parliamentary deputy who is the parliament's speaker (president), said today that she is considering legal action over her suspension from the party's membership. Without naming anyone, she suggested that some people could be sued.

She was speaking prior to the start of the parliamentary session, a day after Podemos opened disciplinary proceedings against her. These will have to be decided on by the party's commission of guarantees. Another Podemos deputy, Montse Seijas, is in the same situation, accused of favouring the personal interests of a Podemos senior figure (not a deputy), Daniel Bachiller.

Huertas declared that she would not be saying anything until her lawyer instructs her. She maintained that she was innocent and explained that she didn't receive notification of the proceedings until ten past eight on Monday evening. "It seems they had problems finding me, when journalists found me easily. It appears that they didn't know that I spend all hours in parliament."

Despite the controversy, Huertas took her seat as usual today, having said in advance that she would vote with her conscience. On this she added that it seems that when some people do so, "my group likes this", but when others vote in this way, "they don't like it so much". (The reference to Podemos liking those who vote with their conscience is probably to PSOE deputies in Congress who refused to vote for Mariano Rajoy's investiture.)

She and Seijas in the end voted with the Partido Popular's motion against the budget, specifically favouring clauses related to a lower tax for hydrocarbons and reduced income tax for the low-paid. The motion was defeated.

What this affair boils down to is that Huertas and Seijas were accused of threatening to not vote in favour of the Balearic budget for next year if a demand they were supposedly making for a continuation of funding for the laboratory run by Bachiller was not met. When Huertas refers to voting with her conscience, this is in the context of the budget vote.

Reaction in parliament to her remaining as speaker included President Armengol's observation that she hoped that Podemos will be able to resolve the situation as soon as possible. She added that it is not her "style" to get involved in other parties' internal affairs. Both the PP and Ciudadanos suggested that she should get involved, Marga Prohens of the PP saying that she could not just wash her hands of the affair.


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