Former electoral board member was advisor to Ciutadans at same time
Catalan president to file complaint against consultant for bribery, breach of official duty, and electoral crime
Andrés Betancor, a professor of constitutional law at Barcelona's Pompeu Fabra University, was an advisor to unionist political party Ciutadans and on their payroll while he was also a member of Spain's electoral board between 2017 and 2019, Spanish online newspaper Eldiario.es revealed.
Catalan president Quim Torra has announced that he will be filing a complaint against Betancor for bribery, breach of official duty, and electoral crime as he participated in decisive debates on elections taking place in Spain as well as handled appeals put forth by Ciutadans on issues relating to Catalonia and the independence movement.
Betancor came to work for the electoral board at Ciutdans' proposal while preserving his post as advisor to the party and an office in Congress along with members of other political groupings.
The body Betancor was a member of until July 2019 has been behind a number of controversial decisions including declaring Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí ineligible in the May 2019 European election – the Constitutional Court overturned this decision – or removing Torra's MP seat in the Catalan parliament in January.
The Catalan president believes that Betancor himself could have had a hand in the case that led to his eventual disqualification and says the ties between Betancor and Ciutadans, "call into question all of the electoral board's decisions over the past two years."
Perquè és a l'origen de la meva inhabilitació, presentaré una querella per suborn, prevaricació i/o delicte electoral contra Betancor i els que siguin responsables d'aquest escàndol que posa en dubte totes les decisions preses per la JEC els últims 2 anys. https://t.co/1w8M6m5QdX— Quim Torra i Pla (@QuimTorraiPla) February 27, 2020
Not only is the pro-independence camp concerned by Eldiario.es's revelations, however, but others have also expressed alarm, including Spanish government spokesperson María Jesús Montero, who called the relation Ciutadans had with a member of the electoral board "incomprehensible and very intolerable."
Ciutdans: having an advisor on electoral board "not illegal"
Head of Ciutadans in Catalonia, Lorena Roldán, has defended her party, arguing that having a paid advisor who is on the electoral board at the same is "not illegal" and attributed the publication of articles on the case to "a smokescreen created by the independence movement."
While Roldán admitted to not knowing the details of the case in a press conference held on Thursday, she called news reports "fake news" and "made-up."