The decision by the assembly’s governing table to temporarily suspend Laura Borràs as both speaker and a lawmaker in the Catalan parliament has fuelled tensions in coalition which governs the region.
It was backed by all the parties with representation on the table, except for her “Together for Catalonia” (JxC) party.
Borràs is accused of awarding contracts worth around €300,000 ($295,000) to a colleague when she headed the Catalan Institute of Letters, a regional body charged with promoting Catalan language and literature.
A top court in Catalonia on Tuesday ordered her to stand trial for malfeasance and forgery.
Public prosecutors are calling for her to be sentenced to six years in jail and to be banned from holding public office for 21 years.
Borràs denies the allegations, arguing they are part of the “judicial persecution” of Catalan separatists.
After she was suspended she repeated these arguments — and lashed out at the other separatist parties which voted in favour of it.
“My suspension only benefits those who have bet on a dirty war, but it also makes complicit those who executed it,” she said.
Borràs belongs to the same party as former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who fled to Belgium after Catalonia’s failed 2017 independence bid to avoid arrest
Her JxC governs Catalonia in a coalition led by the more moderate ERC party which backed her suspension, as did another smaller separatist formation, the CUP.
She has been speaker of the Catalan parliament since March 2021.