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Spanish parliament suspends jailed Catalan leaders' rights as lawmakers

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Spanish parliament suspends jailed Catalan leaders' rights as lawmakers
FILE PHOTO: Jailed Catalan politicians Josep Rull, Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Turull leave after getting their parliamentary credentials at Spanish Parliament, in Madrid, Spain, May 20, 2019. REUTERS/Susana Vera/File Photo   -   Copyright  SUSANA VERA(Reuters)
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MADRID (Reuters) – The Spanish parliament’s governing body on Friday suspended the lawmaker rights of the four jailed Catalan members of parliament while they face trial over the northeastern region’s failed 2017 independence bid, lower house speaker Meritxell Batet said.

It was not immediately clear what would happen to the seats as it’s up to the four lawmakers to decide if they want to leave them empty for now or if they’d rather resign and pass the position to a fellow politician.

If the seats are left empty, the total number of lawmakers would drop which, in a deeply fragmented parliament, may work in favour of acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez who could then be reelected without the backing of the Catalans.

(Reporting by Paul Day; Editing by Ingrid Melander)

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