Jailed former minister to run for Barcelona mayor
Joaquim Forn will head pro-independence ticket in May local election
The jailed former home affairs minister, Joaquim Forn, will run for Barcelona mayor in the May local election on a pro-independence ticket.
After long speculation, Forn confirmed his intentions in a statement on Wednesday morning. "I have taken the decision to head an integrating, trustworthy and inclusive candidacy in order to win Barcelona's mayorship," he said.
"I am running for mayor because I have that right, and not doing so would be to accept the arguments of those who have artificially constructed the narrative keeping me in prison," he added.
Forn was Catalan home affairs minister from July to October 2017, and his term in office coincided with the Barcelona terrorist attacks of August 2017, and the independence referendum.
"I am running for mayor because I have that right, and not doing so would be to accept the arguments of those who have artificially constructed the narrative keeping me in prison"
Joaquim Forn · Jailed former minister
He has been in pre-trial jail for 447 days, and in the coming weeks he will be tried for rebellion and misuse of public funds. The public prosecutor has requested he serve 16 years in jail and be barred from office.
Forn, unlikely to take office from prison
Forn is unlikely to be allowed to take office from behind bars if successful in the election. The Spanish judiciary has temporarily suspended all jailed leaders who were MPs from holding any public office until the verdict is out.
Judges did not let the former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont be sworn in again because he did not appear in person in Parliament.
Thus, the number two candidate on this list will be key, as many will see them as having the real chance to become mayor.
Candidates for Barcelona mayor include Ada Colau and Manuel Valls
Forn joins several other mayoral candidates who have already confirmed their bids, including the current mayor, Ada Colau, member of the left-wing Barcelona en Comú candidacy, which is non-aligned in the independence issue.
Manuel Valls, the former French president, will also take part in the vote on a ticket supported by the Ciutadans party.
Pro-independence Esquerra will also bid for the post with the former foreign minister Ernest Maragall, while the Socialists are running with their 2015 candidate, Jaume Collboni.
The People's Party will also run in the election, with the independent businessman Josep Bou leading the project, while the far-left CUP has not yet made it clear who its candidates will be.