ALDE party bureau calls vote to expel Puigdemont's PDeCAT

Board members put forth proposal but final decision is to be taken by Council members on October 27

ALDE president Hans Van Baalen (left) and former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont (by Albert Segura)
ALDE president Hans Van Baalen (left) and former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont (by Albert Segura) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

September 26, 2018 10:17 PM

The European liberal party, ALDE, might expel Carles Puigdemont's PDeCAT political force in the near future. Its bureau proposed doing so on Wednesday evening following an "investigation into the corruption conviction and the additional corruption charges" towards CDC, the predecessor of PDeCAT.

According to the ALDE bureau, the disaffiliation proposal is based on the fact that "PDeCAT is engaging in acts that are contrary to the interest and the values" of the party, and therefore, "its membership is politically no longer compatible" with the liberals' principles.

An extraordinary council meeting of the party to discuss the matter will be held on October 27 in Brussels –incidentally, the day marking a year of the Catalan declaration of independence.

PDeCAT: corruption case is an excuse

Some days ago PDeCAT officials told the Catalan News Agency (ACN) that bringing up the corruption case for which CDC party was convicted was just an excuse, as they have "nothing to do with it".

While in 2016 ALDE's leadership was backing the "right to decide" for Catalonia, it did not support the country's bid for independence a year later and Carles Puigdemont's cabinet's push for this aim.

ALDE officials say PDeCAT’s ideology or the party’s stance on independence is not the issue at stake, as they claim not to interfere in national politics on a general basis –but Puigdemont's political force believe it does have some relation with the proposal of expelling them.

Ciutadans: pro-independence foes join ALDE

The relationship between PDeCAT and ALDE started deteriorating in 2016 when Ciutadans, Catalonia’s main unionist party, joined the European liberals.

Currently, Ciutadans has two MEPs—one more than PDeCAT. In recent times, the party has soared in polls all across Spain, and is very likely to increase its number of MEPs in the upcoming European Parliament election.

The ‘3%’ case

The corruption case affecting the Palau de la Música concert hall also involved the CDC political party, with former treasurer Daniel Osàcar sentenced to four years and five months in jail.

The party, the predecessor of the pro-independence PDeCAT party, was accused of rigging public tenders in exchange for a 3-4% commission to illegally finance itself, with the money being transferred through false concert hall donations.

Last July, Spain’s National Court widened the investigation of the so-called ‘3%’ corruption scandal to include PDeCAT and its precursor, Convergència (CDC). Both parties are accused of influence peddling, bribery, and money laundering.

CDC, which governed Catalonia for almost 30 years, allegedly used two foundations to get kickbacks from private companies in exchange for public contracts.