Exiled Catalan MEPs call on EU chamber to investigate Betancor case
Puigdemont, Comín and Ponsatí ask speaker to take action after revelation that unionist party employed member of Spanish electoral board
Three exiled Catalan pro-independence politicians in the European Parliament have sent a letter to chamber speaker David Sassoli reporting "serious irregularities" surrounding the role of a former member of Spain's electoral authority and urging an investigation.
Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí - former Catalan government members who went into exile after the 2017 independence bid - claim that Gabriel Betancor was a prime mover behind efforts to have them declared ineligible for the 2019 European election.
It was revealed this week that Betancor, a professor of constitutional law at Barcelona's Pompeu Fabra University, was a paid advisor to unionist political party Ciudadanos (Cs) while also a member of Spain's electoral board between 2017 and 2019.
MEPs want Cs removed from committee presidency
Also in the letter, the MEPs call for Cs to be removed from the presidency of the European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs, the body that is considering the Spanish judiciary's appeal that the chamber waive the immunity of Puigdemont, Comín and Ponsatí.
The Betancor case is a "serious corruption scandal" and an "attack on the democratic system," says the letter, which also points out that it was the electoral board omitting their names that initially led the EU chamber to refuse to recognize them as MEPs.
That, they continue in the letter, "has not only generated litigation, but also costs for both ourselves and the parliament, and prevented us from acting as elected members, with all that means for us and the voters we represent."