Gabriel Le Senne and Mercedes Garrido at a tense meeting of the board of parliamentary spokespeople.


Gabriel Le Senne, the Vox president (speaker) of the Balearic Parliament, is under pressure from the Partido Popular to issue a public apology for his actions on Tuesday at the commencement of the debate on the repeal of the Balearic law of historical memory, a motion raised by Vox.

Le Senne tore up photos of Aurora Picornell and two other 'Rojas del Molinar', the Red Women of El Molinar, who were raped, tortured and executed without trial by Falangists in January 1937. The photos had been displayed by two PSOE deputies, Mercedes Garrido and Pilar Costa, both members of the parliamentary board. Le Senne ordered them to leave the chamber.

Vox hold the presidency of parliament as part of the pact to support the PP government. The repeal of the law was also a feature of this pact, one to which the PP reluctantly agreed - in 2018 they had voted in favour of the law.

On Wednesday, Sebastià Sagreras, the PP spokesperson in parliament, said: "These were not the proper or appropriate actions of a president. We cannot agree with the tearing up of photos of murdered people. The images embarrass us all. President Le Senne should publicly apologise. When it comes to murdered people, the utmost respect and sensitivity must be shown. The dead are not to be touched."

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He went on: "We have been warning for weeks about episodes of increasing tension and anger in this parliament. These come from some and from others and are not typical of this institution. The Partido Popular represents the centrality, common sense and tranquillity that citizens demand and deserve. They will not find us in this drift towards tension and anger."

There have been calls for Le Senne to resign, which he has no intention of doing. On Wednesday, he gave a detailed defence of his actions, saying that Garrido and Costa had committed "flagrant infringements". He highlighted the need for members of the board to remain neutral in debates and for these members to support the president in maintaining order in parliament.

"It is unacceptable that members of the board itself, who must set an example of good behaviour, are not only those who disturb order, but also refuse to abide by the decisions of the presidency in the exercise of his functions."

The matter was raised in Congress on Wednesday, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez describing Le Senne's behaviour as "execrable". Ángel Víctor Torres, who is minister for democratic memory, said that the Spanish government is considering taking legal action against him. A decision will be based on reports from the ministry's legal services and the State Attorney's Office. "He should keep order in debates and not be the hooligan of the chamber."