Three Madrid courts ruled on Monday to allow former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, as well two members of his government to run in the upcoming European Parliament elections, thereby overturning the Spanish election authority’s decision, the High Court of Justice of Madrid said.
The rulings come a week after Spain’s Junta Electoral Central (JEC) excluded Puigdemont, Toni Comin and Clara Ponsati from the lists of the Lliures per Europa coalition because the fugitive politicians are currently residing outside Spain.
The JEC ruled to bar the politicians from running in the lists, satisfying the relevant complaints of the Christian Democratic People’s Party and the center-right Citizens party. The coalition, however, filed an appeal with the Madrid courts in a bid to challenge the JEC decision.
The case was referred to the Supreme Court, however, the latter returned it to lower courts, saying that they must “immediately” make a decision. In a recommendation, the court recognized the politicians’ right to run in the May 26 elections, noting that it is “a fundamental right of all Spanish citizens that is recognized by the constitution.” It also recalled that Article 6.2 of the election law stipulated that one can be stripped of passive voting right in case of conviction against them.
The Spanish Prosecutor’s Office earlier also described the JEC decision as “non-compliant with legal norms,” recalling that none of the three politicians was barred from holding an elected and public office by a court decision.
Puigdemont fled from Spain to Belgium in October 2017 to avoid rebellion and sedition charges after Catalonia’s independence referendum. Comin is also currently residing in Belgium, while Ponsati has taken refuge in the United Kingdom.