Spain’s Electoral Authority (JEC) ban on ousted and exiled Catalan president Carles Puigdemont from running as MEP in the upcoming European elections was not a unanimous one. This, according to a legal document released the same day as the decision, which reveals that four members – including the president and vice president – voted against the veto.
The members who instead voted to allow Puigdemont, as well as former ministers Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí to run in the EU polls explained that they “disagree with the majority’s resolution” because they see being eligible as a citizen’s “political right.” They also added that to be voted for one must also be able to vote, a right which “no Spanish person of legal age may be deprived.”
Temporary candidates stand in
In a press conference started shortly after 8:30 pm, Jaume Alonso Cuevillas, one of Puigdemont’s lawyers, revealed JxCat’s reaction to the resolution: to “temporarily” substitute Puigdemont, Comín, and Ponsatí with three other individuals in order to keep with the deadline for nominating candidates.
These people are set to be lawyer Gonzalo Boye, former mayor of Barcelona Xavier Trias, and journalist Beatriz Talegón, although Cuevillas emphasized that the candidates “will continue to be” Puigdemont, Comín, and Ponsatí.
Kafkaesque, grotesque, and contradictory
JxCat MP Josep Costa also took to the podium on behalf of the Junts per Catalunya party to officially react to the electoral authority document. Costa reiterated Puigdemont’s comment that the time and date of when the resolution was turned in to them gave them little time to appeal.
Costa called the resolution “Kafkaesque, grotesque, and contradictory,” adding that it “goes way beyond anything done on October 1” referendum day. “It’s something so shameful, so antidemocratic, that four members voted against it,” proclaimed Costa.
“This is a situation of democratic emergency”, said Costa, who also pledged to fight the resolution “from all points of view” including the supreme and constitutional court. “If this is a democracy, everybody has the right to present themselves to the elections and everybody has the right to vote for those who present themselves,” concluded Costa.
Referring to the Electoral Authority document listing the reasons for the resolution, Puigdemont also reacted on his twitter, noting the time it was received, 6:45pm, and the last time to appeal, 8pm. “This confirms the legal scandal and the coup to democracy in the background and the form,” tweeted Puigdemont.
Earlier in a joint statement, Puigdemont, Comín, and Ponsatí described the development as a “flagrant violation of the fundamental human right to stand in elections” and said they will contest the decision.
“This is more evidence of collusion between a judiciary that ought to be independent and certain members of the political system,” they added, referencing the ongoing Catalan trial in Madrid.
Cs and PP objected to candidacy
The Catalan independence figurehead has been listed as the top candidate for May’s vote by his Junts per Catalunya party, which also includes his colleagues Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí.
However, unionists Ciutadans and the People’s Partyobjected to the trio running from Belgium, accusing them of being “state fugitives”, and filed an appeal to the Spanish Electoral Board.