Spain’s national lockdown has been ruled unconstitutional, giving the country’s far-right party the victory.
The Spanish Constitutional Court declared on Wednesday that Spain’s rigorous national lockdown during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic last year was unlawful, according to the Associated Press.
The ruling favored Spain’s far-right Vox party, whose leader, Santiago Abascal, demanded that Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez resign.
“We cannot rejoice in the decision because we now have proof that the government was willing to break the law and taint the constitution,” Abascal explained.
The majority of the terms of the state of emergency announced last year were maintained by the court, but stipulations requiring citizens to stay off the streets except for brief shopping trips and other vital business were found to be in violation of the country’s constitution.
See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.
In a brief statement, the court classified the outcome as a split decision. Six magistrates voted in favor and five voted against, according to state broadcaster TVE. In the next days, the whole verdict is expected to be made public.
According to TVE, the majority of the court concluded that the restrictions on movement infringed on residents’ basic rights, and that the state of emergency was an insufficient constitutional vehicle to address this. A state of exception, which allows the government to suspend essential rights, would have been required, according to the six magistrates.
Pilar Llop, the Justice Minister, stated that her administration “will uphold but does not share the decision” on the emergency declaration’s inadequacy, which “saved hundreds of thousands of lives.”
“We were able to stop the virus thanks to the home confinement rule proclaimed under the state of emergency, as well as the exemplary behavior of citizens,” Llop said, adding that the order was comparable to those issued by other European governments.
On March 14, 2020, Spain’s government proclaimed a state of emergency, three days after the World Health Organization classified the coronavirus to be a pandemic. With Spain’s hospitals overflowing, Sánchez’s left-wing coalition government obtained legislative support for the state of emergency, even from Vox legislators.
Spaniards were unable to walk outside for even exercise during the first six weeks of the lockdown, and Vox lost its support for it.
The lockout managed to limit the number of new cases reported on a daily basis. Once the worst of the pandemic had passed, the Spanish government progressively eased its pandemic restrictions. Spain has been using since then. This is a condensed version of the information.