President appeals disqualification, accusing electoral board of 'usurping' tasks

Government reaffirms it will 'not abide by' authority ruling over votes and rules out snap election

Catalan president Quim Torra at the parliament's extraordinary plenary session on January 4, 2019 (by Mariona Puig)
Catalan president Quim Torra at the parliament's extraordinary plenary session on January 4, 2019 (by Mariona Puig) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

January 8, 2020 03:02 PM

The Catalan president, Quim Torra, has taken the electoral board's decision to disqualify him to the Supreme Court through an urgent appeal.

In the challenge, he argues that the electoral authority is "usurping" the power of the courts and the Catalan parliament, and has no right to remove MPs from their seat.

Torra was officially notified of his disqualification on Tuesday, but his appeal in the Supreme Court aims to overrule this decision.

The Catalan president was convicted of disobedience for failing to remove symbols in support of jailed independence leaders from public buildings during the April 2019 election campaign – the electoral authority based its decision on this conviction, which is not final, as the Supreme Court also has to take a final decision on the underlying issue.

After the cabinet meeting chaired by Torra on Tuesday, its spokesperson said that the government will "not abide by" the authority ruling over votes and ruled out a snap election.

Three more jailed leaders call for trial to be annulled after EU court ruling

Meanwhile, three 2017 referendum jailed leaders have called for their trial to be annulled in application of the EU court ruling granting immunity to another politician, Oriol Junqueras, as MEP right after he was elected.

Josep Rull, Jordi Turull and Jordi Sànchez have filed an appeal in Spain's Constitutional Court to be granted freedom and the annulment of their trial – they got a guilty verdict and were each sentenced to between 9 and 12 years in jail on October 14, 2019.

All three, as well as Oriol Junqueras, were elected MPs in Spain's congress in the April 28 election while facing provisional detention and in the middle of their trial.

The EU court ruled that Junqueras should have been freed to take up his seat as MEP, and his legal case frozen until the European Parliament gave or declined permission for him to be tried.

Now Rull, Turull and Sànchez claim that, based on the Luxembourg judges, they should also have been granted freedom and their trials should have been halted.