Pro-independence parties JxCat and ERC have filed appeals with the Provincial Electoral Commission of Barcelona, calling for it to postpone the royal family's visit to Barcelona, scheduled for Monday, until after the 10th November general election.
King Felipe VI is due to attend the awards ceremony for the Princess of Girona prizes, normally held earlier in the year, along with queen Letizia and their daughters. Last year, Girona city council denied the foundation permission to use the normal auditorium for the ceremony, arguing it was closed for building work. In the end, it was held in a private events space attached to the Celler de Can Roca restaurant and boycotted by the Catalan and Girona governments. This year, as it celebrates its 10th anniversary, the foundation has decided to move the event to Barcelona for the first time.
JxCat argue that the king's presence will "clearly influence" the vote and benefit pro-union parties. They say that, since his speech two days after the 2017 referendum, he has "abandoned political neutrality" and that, in all his speeches, he "praises" the achievements of the Spanish state since the approval of the 1978 Constitution.
In its appeal, the party adds that, if the visit is not postponed, they want his actions to be limited to strictly presenting the awards to the winners, "without, in his remarks, being able to make assessments or considerations which could threaten the required impartiality he has to maintain".
They want the Provincial Electoral Commission to ensure the campaign takes place with strict observance of the "principles of impartiality, objectivity, equality between electoral actors and transparency".
ERC submitted their own appeal shortly after JxCat, similarly asking for the event to be postponed and presenting similar arguments. They say that "it's clear that the head of state clearly wishes to influence the votes of voters, taking advantage of his privileged situation" which "clearly violates" election law. They add that "there is no reason of public interest which can justify that the ceremony/visit has to take place before the election" and that the monarch's visits to Catalonia "have never happened" during an election campaign.
Just over a week after this new election, Catalan president Quim Torra faces trial for disobedience for having initially refused to comply with an Election Commission order before April's general election to remove a banner expressing support for the political prisoners from outside the Catalan government palace. In their appeal, ERC note the more recent case where the Central Electoral Commission suspended an international campaign by Global Spain during the election period.
The Catalan Committees for Defence of the Republic have been preparing various protests to oppose the king's visit. A group of left-wing parties and students unions, meanwhile, have called members to "block" the ceremony with a demonstration outside the Palau de Congressos itself.