Madrid court overturns ban on Puigdemont running in European election
People's Party to challenge decision in Constitutional Court
Carles Puigdemont will be able to run in the European election despite being exiled in Belgium after a local court in Madrid ruled in his favor, thereby overturning an initial ban from Spain’s electoral authority.
The decision will also affect Antoni Comín and Clara Ponsatí, who were ministers under Puigdemont in 2017 when the Catalan government called for a referendum and declared independence despite Spain’s opposition.
The three pro-independence politicians saw themselves banned from the race last week after an electoral authority majority accepted an appeal to their candidacies brought forth by unionist parties Ciutadans (Cs) and People’s Party (PP).
Puigdemont’s MEP electoral bid was initially dismissed as a “mockery,” as he is wanted by the Spanish judiciary over rebellion charges. However, the decision was subsequently challenged by Madrid's attorney general and the Supreme Court, and ultimately overturned by a Madrid court.
According to the ruling, excluding Puigdemont and his former ministers as candidates would infringe on their “basic right" to stand in an election.
People's Party has announced they will challenge the decision in the Constitutional Court, the highest judicial body in Spain.
In turn, Puigdemont has pledged that he will file a lawsuit against some members of Spain's electoral authority for breach of official duty, stressing that their attempt to exclude him from the European election "cannot go unpunished."
Will Puigdemont be able to assume his post?
While the Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) party will finally be allowed to have the names of Puigdemont, Comín, and Ponsatí on their ballots on May 26, it is unclear whether they would be able to assume their posts as MEPs if they were to win.
A recent report by the European Parliament legal services warned that, if elected, the exiled politicians would be required to return to Spain to take the oath of office and therefore risk detention for their role in the 2017 independence bid.