They warned they wouldn't take the ruling lying down. With this afternoon's deadline, their decision has come. The president of Catalonia, Quim Torra, has disobeyed the Central Electoral Board's order to remove yellow loops and estelada pro-independence flags from public buildings. The Catalan government will appeal the Board's ruling.
Torra asked the Board to reconsider its decision arguing, among other factors, that as president he has to respect civil servants' right to freedom of speech. He accuses the electoral authorities of not being impartial and folding to parties, also standing for election, who have "for more than a years, run public campaigns to promote and incentivise the withdrawal of these symbols".
The 48-hour deadline to comply with the decision runs out this evening at 7pm local time, but the large yellow loop and the banner calling for the freedom of those in prison or exile for their roles in the 2017 independence push still hang outside the government palace in Barcelona.
The resolution was in response to a claim brought by political party Ciudadanos on "ideological and partisan symbols on public buildings and spaces". It gave two months for the filing of counter-claims. It did not clarify whether the ruling had to be implemented whilst the appeals process is underway.
The order describes "repeated doctrine on the public powers' obligation to strictly maintain political neutrality during elections" and says that "equality in suffrage is essential in democratic representation". It adds that freedom of expression is a fundamental right for people, but "not governors". They declare that "the yellow loop and the estelada flag are partisan symbols used by parties concurrent with the election".
Catalan interior ministry sources tell El Nacional that the Electoral Board tends to be quick in its replies. Days before the Catalan election in December 2017, the commission gave an identical order. That time, the result was the Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan police) entering different ministries to remove such symbols.