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On Saturday, February 1st, Clara Ponsatí will officially become a member of the European parliament, and on February 10th she will take her seat in the parliament's plenary session at its Strasbourg chamber. "Goodness, a lot of work has arrived," she commented on receiving the news, after the obstacles that had been put in the path by Spain's Central Electoral Commission and months of bureaucracy.

With Brexit on the verge of becoming a reality, the European Parliament has moved quickly and released the names of the new MEPs representing the Spanish state following the departure of the British MEPs.

The press release includes the names of all the new MEPs which will take office from tomorrow. Spain will have 59 seats, five more than at present. They will be occupied by Marcos Ros of the PSOE, Margarita de la Pisa of Vox, Gabriel Mato of the PP, Adrián Vázquez of Ciudadanos and Clara Ponsatí of Lliures per Europa (Free for Europe), the ticket led by the JxCat party.

Just a week ago, Spain's state gazette declared Ponsatí an elected MEP. In line with last December's ruling by the European Court of Justice on the Oriol Junqueras case, Ponsatí acquired parliamentary immunity from the moment she was declared elected, and can take up her post as a member of the European parliament after January 31 without further ado.

Ponsatí decided not to appear in Madrid to swear her allegiance to the Spanish constitution earlier this week, given that she is in exile and would face arrest in Spain. Spain's Central Electoral Commission - which twice summonsed her to appear - decided to leave her MEP place "temporarily vacant", and informed the European Parliament of this, although the EU institution does not appear to have taken the description of the seat's status into account. This is the same procedure that was followed in the case of Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín.

Extradition hearing, on 11th May

Meanwhile, Ponsatí is at present also cited by an Edinburgh judge for the hearing of Spain's extradition claim against her on May 11th, a case which is expected to last three to four weeks should it proceed as planned. However, as Ponsatí's defence told the court at her last appearance on 23rd January, the trial could be affected by her new status.