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Disqualified MP to take case to Europe if necessary to 'guarantee sovereignty' of Parliament

Both Juvillà and Parliament will appeal electoral board decision in Supreme Court

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21 January 2022 10:59 AM

by

ACN|Barcelona

Pro-independence MP and parliament bureau member Pau Juvillà, of the far-left CUP party, who was disqualified for not removing yellow ribbons from his office in the Lleida council during an election campaign period in 2019, has vowed to take his case to European courts if necessary in order to "guarantee the sovereignty" of the Catalan parliament.

On Friday morning, a day after the electoral board – an administrative body – decided to strip him of his seat, the politician reaffirmed his intention to remain in Parliament until his sentence can no longer be appealed. According to Juvillà, the decision is "an attack on freedom of expression and fundamental rights."

The electoral board's decision, made public a month after a High Court ruling barring him from office for 6 months and fining him €1,080 for disobedience, is similar to that made in relation to former Catalan president Quim Torra.

Torra was first disqualified by the High Court in a decision that was then backed by the electoral board and upheld by the Supreme Court in 2020, effectively handing over the presidency to then-vice president Pere Aragonès.

Both Juvillà and the parliament bureau will appeal the decision to strip him of his seat in Spain's Supreme Court, while in mid-December, the Catalan parliament voted to allow him to stay in his post until there is a final ruling on the matter. Parliament speaker Laura Borràs, of pro-independence Junts per Catalunya, also stated then that she would not take action to remove him.

The case against Juvillà

Juvillà's case dates back to the 2019 municipal election period, when Juvillà was a Lleida city council member, and he did not remove yellow ribbons from the CUP office in the town hall. 

Since late 2017 following the referendum deemed illegal by Spain, yellow ribbons have come to signal solidarity with the formerly jailed independence leaders as well as those who have moved abroad to avoid being prosecuted for their actions. 

Ciudadanos, a center-right party that is staunchly against splitting with Spain and that used to be Catalonia's largest opposition party, lodged a complaint against Juvillà with the Electoral Board for displaying what they described as partisan symbols during an electoral period.

Despite this, on April 3, 2019, the then-councilor refused to take them down in an act of defiance that led to disobedience charges. The yellow ribbons were eventually taken down by Mossos d'Esquadra police officers. 

The public prosecutor had requested an 8-month disqualification from public office as well as a €1,440-fine.

Because Juvillà became an MP in the Catalan Parliament following the February 14 elections, the case had to be tried in the High Court. 

Ex-president's yellow ribbon disqualification

Juvillà is not the first politician to face a similar sentence due to yellow ribbons; in fact, former Catalan president Quim Torra was twice charged with disobedience for hanging symbols in solidarity with pro-independence figures from the government headquarters in Barcelona during election campaign periods.

In September 2020, Spain's Supreme Court upheld the December 2019 Catalan High Court ruling disqualifying Torra for 18 months, the first yellow ribbon ruling against him, forcing him out of office as then-speaker of the Parliament Roger Torrent withdrew Torra's MP condition, making then-vice president Pere Aragonès the president of Catalonia and calling new elections in the territory.

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  • CUP MP Pau Juvillà (by Bernat Vilaró)

  • CUP MP Pau Juvillà (by Bernat Vilaró)

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