The Spanish repression comes to no end and the Catalan presidency has been ousted once again only three years after the 1-O independence referendum in 2017 and the subsequent autonomy suspension. The Spanish Supreme Court has confirmed the one and a half years sentence of disqualification against President Quim Torra for refusing to withdraw a freedom of expression banner at the Government headquarters. The court, headed by Andrés Martínez Arrieta, took only ten days to issue a sentence and, unanimously, upheld the conviction for disobedience of the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC). Likewise, the Supreme Court also upholds the 30,000 euros fine.

Quim Torra is the first Catalan president to be disqualified from office and the third in a row to be prosecuted by the Spanish judiciary. The first was Artur Mas, who was disqualified for the 9-N consultation, and then Carles Puigdemont, who is exiled in Belgium following the 1-O and the 27-O unilateral declaration of independence.

What now?

The TSJC is responsible for enforcing the sentence. Thus, as long as President Torra is not notified, he retains the powers to call early elections. However, this possibility has been repeatedly ruled out by the president himself. A second option is that the president’s defense files an appeal against the sentence in Spain’s Constitutional Court and asks for precautionary measures to continue at the presidency. However, the court may accept the appeal without applying the precautionary measures.

Finally, as a more feasible hypothesis, Torra could resign as president when notified by the TSJC, the court that initially convicted him. When the resignation is published in the official bulletins (DOGC and BOE), vicepresident Pere Aragonès will assume the position on an interim basis, but without the powers to call elections or appoint and dismiss ministers. The activation of the electoral procedure will depend on the president of the Parliament, Roger Torrent, but the elections will take place around January.

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