Puigdemont banned from EU elections
Ousted president and two other exiled former ministers stripped of European Parliament candidacies by Spain's electoral authority
Exiled president Carles Puigdemont, along with two of his former cabinet ministers, has been barred from standing in the European Parliament elections by Spain's electoral authority.
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 Party objected to the trio running from Belgium, accusing them of being "state fugitives", and filed an appeal to the Spanish Electoral Board.
In a joint statement, the three candidates 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.
"This is more evidence of collusion between a judiciary that ought to be independent and certain members of the political system"
Joint statement of Puigdemont, Comín and Ponsatí
Junts per Catalunya is currently awaiting an explanation from the authority. It will have 48 hours to appeal the ruling, which came in the immediate aftermath of the Spanish general election.
Board's decision provokes condemnation
Puigdemont's lawyer, Gonzalo Boye, accused the board of trying to "sideline" his client and cited "European jurisprudence," saying it forbids "candidates to be excluded."
The republican Esquerra party (ERC) agreed, calling the decision an "attempt to silence the pro-independence movement" and a "clear obstruction of their political rights."
The far-left, pro-independence CUP party tweeted its support for Puigdemont, Comín and Ponsatí and condemned the board for "denying them their political and civil rights."
Yet, the unionist PP party claimed credit, saying that it submitted its complaint to the board before Ciutadans and had "prevented Puigdemont from being able to run in the election."