At Tuesday’s parliamentary session, the Balearic government received backing for a decree which the cabinet had approved two days before the state of alarm ended on May 9. This decree, a reform of public health legislation, gives the government powers to impose restrictive measures in the event of a pandemic or epidemic. These include curfews and the closure of businesses. The decree, validated on Tuesday, will now go forward for debate as a law, but parliament has in essence already voted curfews into Balearic law.
Parliament’s approval comes days after the Supreme Court annulled the curfew and limits on social gatherings. The court determined that these were not sufficiently justified.
The three parties of the pact government – PSOE, Més (Mallorca) and Podemos – voted in favor. There were abstentions from Més Minorca and Ciudadanos, while the Partido Popular, Vox and El Pi voted against. PP spokesperson Toni Costa said that the Supreme Court had been “clear”. It believed that the “freedoms of citizens were a toy in their hands (the government’s), and that this is not the case”.
The series of measures contained in the decree also include capacity limits, the obligatory wearing of masks and restricting mobility. Decisions regarding these measures will be up to the regional ministry of health. All measures must be temporary and adhere to a requirement for “proportionality, if fundamental rights and public freedoms are to be limited “.
Health minister Patricia Gómez argued that the decree does not clash with the Supreme Court’s judgment and that its approval was necessary for contending with an “extraordinary situation” of protecting public health following the ending of the state of alarm.
Juan Manuel Lafuente of the PP said that, according to the Supreme Court, part of the decree is “illegal” and that his party would not support something that “violates the rights and liberties of citizens”.