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First parliamentary question in Catalan blocked

3  June 2004

MADRID –A Catalan nationalist party activist was prevented from asking a question in Catalan in the Spanish parliament for the first time, it was reported Thursday.

Joan Tarda, of the Left-wing ERC party, tried to ask the government a question in a session of the Congress.

It was the first time a question was asked in one of the regional languages of Spain in the Spanish parliament.

But Manuel Marin, president of the lower house, interrupted Tarda in Catalan and asked him to show respect for the parliament.

He then added: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

The much-awaited question brought hundreds of deputies to the house and at least 50 journalists.

Tarda had said he believed the question would not need to be translated because of the similarities between Castellano and Catalan.

He said all parliamentarians should be able to express themselves in their “maternal language”.

But he said that he expected some politicians not to respect his “right” to ask the question in Catalan.

The question was about the “linguistic rights of every citizen” in police stations.

Tarda said his party was determined to make Catalan an official language of the European Union.

Jordi Jané, of the right-wing Catalan nationalist CiU party, said it supported the move, adding that the parliament should be the first place which respected “linguistic plurality”.

He added that representatives should be able to talk in their own languages in the parliament.

The Socialist government has promised to support multilingual rights in Spain.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news