Provincial electoral board declares Catalan president's MP seat vacant

Authority transfers Quim Torra's seat to Ferran Mascarell after the Supreme Court rejects immediately overruling Spain's electoral board's decision barring him

Quim Torra at an event in Vic on January 10, 2020 (by Laura Busquets)
Quim Torra at an event in Vic on January 10, 2020 (by Laura Busquets) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

January 11, 2020 12:31 PM

Barcelona's provincial electoral board declared Catalan president Quim Torra's MP seat in the Catalan Parliament vacant on Friday evening, transferring it to Ferran Mascarell hours after the Supreme Court rejected immediately overruling Spain's electoral board's decision to bar him as MP.

The provincial electoral board alleges that it does not have the authority to nullify a ruling handed down by a hierarchically superior body, "especially after the Supreme Court, which would be the competent authority to invalidate it, has already rejected doing so."

Spain's electoral board's decision, announced on January 3, called on the provincial board to "immediately" declare Torra's MP seat vacant and to hand it to the next person on the electoral list, which in this case is Ferran Mascarell.  

After the January 3 decision, Torra's defense team had asked the Supreme Court to promptly suspend the ruling, but the top court's judges found there was no "particular urgency" to do so and have given the electoral board and the public prosecutor 5 days to present their views on the matter before a final deliberation is made.

Quim Torra dismissed Friday's Supreme Court decision: "We do not recognize the effects of the resolution." He also unequivocally affirmed that he is still "an MP and president of Catalonia."

Yellow ribbons row

Spain's electoral board's decision comes after Catalonia's top court ruled that Torra should be barred from office for disobedience having failed to remove signs and symbols in favor of the jailed pro-independence leaders, including yellow ribbons, from public buildings in time during the electoral campaign period last April.

The Catalan court's disobedience ruling, however, is not final as it has also been appealed in the Supreme Court, which is yet to pronounce itself on this specific matter as well.