Catalonia’s former president Carles Puigdemont, who fled Spain in 2017 after a secession attempt, can contest EU polls this month, a Madrid court said Monday, overturning a decision by the electoral board.

A court spokesman said Puigdemont would be able to run, as would Toni Comin and Clara Ponsati, who were in the regional government during the secession bid and fled. They had also been excluded.

Catalonia’s former President Carles Puigdemont makes a statement the day after the Catalan regional parliament declared independence from Spain in Girona, Spain, October 28, 2017. /Reuters Photo

The decision comes a day after the Supreme Court ruled there had been no grounds to bar them and asked an administrative court in Madrid to “immediately” provide a ruling.

It said contesting an election was “a fundamental right” recognized by the constitution and that fleeing the country could not be a cause for ineligibility. Puigdemont had slammed the ban in a tweet as a “legal scandal and a coup to democracy.”

Puigdemont, Comin and Ponsati were all part of a push to hold an independence referendum in October 2017 in defiance of a court ban which sparked Spain’s deepest political crisis in decades.

The referendum in the wealthy northeastern region was followed by a short-lived declaration of independence. Then conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy moved in, taking direct control of the region, sacking the Catalan executive and calling snap polls.

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