Spain's Central Electoral Commission (JEC) has decided to dispossess the jailed Catalan politician Oriol Junqueras of his seat as an MEP, as announced on Twitter by Pablo Casado, leader of the Popular Party, which appealed the EU Court of Justice's ruling with the electoral body, as did two other parties, Ciudadanos and Vox. Thus, as it now stands, Junqueras, will not be able to leave prison to take up his office as an MEP at the European Parliament. The 13-member JEC had a dissenting vote by five members, who considered that a decision should first be awaited from the Spanish Supreme Court. Today's decision can itself be appealed to the disputes section of the Supreme Court.
The resolution of the JEC states that Junqueras is affected by a condition of "subsequent ineligibility", and for this reason he "loses the status of a Member of the European Parliament", annulling his mandate and its effects. Finally, the commission agrees to fill the vacancy by proclaiming the next candidate on the list to be the elected candidate, ERC candidate Jordi Solé.
Otro recurso del PP a la Junta Electoral Central consigue que Junqueras no sea eurodiputado, y por tanto siga en la cárcel sin viajar a Bruselas, como pretendía el informe del Gobierno de Sánchez. A cada cesión a los separatistas responderemos con la firmeza del Estado de Derecho— Pablo Casado Blanco (@pablocasado_) January 3, 2020
"Another appeal by the PP to the Central Electoral Commission ensures that Junqueras is not an MEP, and therefore remains in jail without travelling to Brussels, as the report to the Sánchez government intended. To each concession to the separatists we will respond with the firmness of the rule of law." - Pablo Casado Blanco, leader of PP
The members of the Spanish electoral body disagree with the decision made before Christmas by the EU Court of Justice. While they admit that Junqueras has been an MEP since the commission itself named the candidates who had been formally elected - despite his failure to abide by the Spanish Constitution - the commission notes that Junqueras' situation changed on October 14th, when he was found guilty by the Supreme Court. "Consequently, Mr Junqueras's situation has ceased to be that of provisional prison, which he had at the moment when the EU court made its resolution, to be convicted after a definitive verdict to a prison sentence that is currently being completed, as is well-known," says the commission's argument. "It is precisely this new situation that has legal and electoral effects," the text states. "It is indisputable that there is a definitive criminal sentence that imposes the penalty, provided for in his case, of ineligibility from office holding".
However, the members Eduardo de Porres Ortiz de Urbina, José Luis Seoane Spiegelberg, Inés Olaizola Nogales, Consuelo Ramón Chornet and Juan Montabes Pereira submitted a dissenting decision. These five members consider that "as the criminal branch of the Supreme Court is in the process of giving its decision" on the EU Court of Justice ruling "we should be informed of the Supreme Court's resolution before resolving the question under debate, in case it could have any influence on the matter."
The Central Electoral Commission's ruling can be appealed to the disputes chamber of the Supreme Court within two months.