Government considers challenging order to remove yellow ribbons
Unionist opposition warns president to obey electoral authority ruling, while parties skeptical about Puigdemont's promise to return
The Catalan executive will "almost certainly" challenge the ruling by Spain’s electoral authority to remove yellow ribbons from all government buildings within 48 hours, according to spokeswoman and presidency minister, Elsa Artadi.
With three elections coming in April and May, the electoral authority's ruling to remove Catalan independence flags and the yellow ribbons (in support of jailed pro-independence leaders) followed a complaint by the unionist Ciutadans (Cs) party.
On Tuesday, the Cs leader, Inés Arrimadas, warned president Quim Torra that disobeying the ruling would be "very serious" and she regretted that public buildings had become "notice boards" with the faces of politicians on trial who will stand in the April 28 general election.
It was not an opinion shared by Ernest Maragall, who will stand for Barcelona mayor for the ERC pro-independence party in May. The former Catalan foreign minister called the authority's ruling a "negation of freedom of expression."
"[The electoral authority's ruling] is a negation of freedom of expression"
Ernest Maragall · Candidate for Barcelona mayor for ERC
As for the CatECP party, which remains unaligned on the independence issue, its spokeswoman, Marta Ribas, did not take a position on how the government should respond to the ruling, but said her party would fight for the underlying issue to be "resolved politically."
Puigdemont's return: "We've heard that before," says CatECP
Ribas also cast doubt on the pledge by exiled former president, Carles Puigdemont, that he would return to Catalonia should he win a seat as an MEP in the upcoming European Parliament elections. "We have already heard that before," she said.
Arrimadas was also unconvinced by Puigdemont's announcement, saying "many of his followers are beginning to think he's a compulsive liar," and she urged the former president to "accept reality" and return home to face prosecution.
As for the far-left pro-independence CUP party, MP Natàlia Sánchez said that Puigdemont's promise to return could do "more harm than good," while she described the electoral authority's order to remove yellow ribbons is consistent with "authoritarian logic."