The Catalan elections will take place on February 14th. Definitively. This was announced by the Catalan High Court of Justice (TSJC) today, which is thus delivering its decision earlier than its self-imposed February 8th deadline. It has made the announcement on the first day of the election campaign, thus concluding a 15 day period of uncertainty over the postponement - or not - of the most atypical elections in the recent history of Catalonia.
Voting will thus take place in the midst of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, after an attempt by the government to postpone the elections, and prior to that, after the electoral countdown had been set in motion by the removal from office of president Quim Torra.
Today's resolution, despite arriving early, went the way that was expected - confirming the February 14th date - which had been indicated by the events of recent days and the court reports that have been presented.
For the moment, only the decision of the court has been announced, and until Monday the full ruling will not be made public. The judges of the administrative disputes chamber brought forward their decision in the face of the understandable public interest in knowing, in the middle of the election campaign, whether at the end of it, there would be a vote or not.
Today the chamber also only issued a short statement: "Section Five of the administrative disputes chamber met today, under urgency, to deliberate after receiving the submissions of all parties, in relation to the matter of the elections of February 14th and, by a majority, agrees to annul the decree suspending the elections called for February 14th. It thus upholds the appeal that was made and, therefore, the elections to the Parliament of Catalonia will be held on the date initially set by the convener, that is, February 14th, 2021. The court thus brings forward the pronouncement of its decision, which will be issued and notified on Monday, February 1st. The court will expressly mention the good procedural faith of the parties, since their agility in the presentation of submissions has enabled a resolution to be reached in the shortest possible time".
It added: "The ruling, which will be published on Monday, can be appealed to the disputes chamber of the Supreme Court. Such an appeal, if made, would not suspend the execution of the decision taken. That is, it would not affect the holding of the elections on February 14th. "
To speed up the process, deadlines for the presentation of submissions were shortened. All parties involved have moved quickly and it has been possible to announce the decision nine days before the date which the court initially stated.
Thus, a process that has been long already will now move to its culmination in another two weeks with the election results, to elect a new parliament and, based on its arithmetic, determine who will form the next government of Catalonia.
Meanwhile, hanging over the court's decision is the doubt over how the pandemic will affect the turnout and the outcome, as well as how the voting day itself will unfold, with exceptional health measures being put in place.