Spain's Supreme Court has ruled that it does not have the jurisdiction to decide on the right of exiled Catalan politicians Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí to run for European election and has returned the case to the Madrid administrative court from which it arrived, but says that it sees no "cause for ineligibility" with respect to the three exiles.
The chamber of Spain's high court which deals with such cases decided unanimously at a special Sunday meeting to declare that "the competence to hear appeals against the proclamation of the Lliures per Europa (Junts) candidature belongs to the Administrative Disputes Court of Madrid", based on the provisions of the electoral law.
For this reason, the Supreme Court ordered this Madrid court to immediately resolve these appeals, taking into account that Puigdemont, Comín and Ponsati, "in the opinion of this chamber, do not present any cause for ineligibility."
According to the ruling released by the Supreme Court, the Catalan politicians Puigdemont, Comín and Ponsatí may be eligible to run for office, but, nevertheless, the country's high court declines to make a final decision, allowing the final word to be given by the Madrid court. The ruling does, however, urge the lower court to resolve the issue "immediately", which might mean that a final decision on whether the three exiled leaders will run in the upcoming European elections may be taken today, Sunday.
The Supreme Court met urgently on Sunday at 12 noon to resolve the appeal by the Junts candidature against the decision made by Spain's Central Electoral Board last Monday to exclude Puigdemont, Comín and Ponsatí from the European election lists. The case had been passed on to the Supreme Court by the Madrid administrative disputes court where it had been heard on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Gonzalo Boye, a member of Puigdemont's legal team and one of the three names listed as provisional substitutes on the electoral list, has submitted a letter to the Supreme Court requesting the abstention of judge José Luis Requero on the matter, due to press articles he has written which are clearly opposed to the independence movement and the three excluded candidates. In Boye's opinion, this shows the lack of impartiality of the judge.
On Saturday, at a press conference in Waterloo, Puigdemont had expressed his confidence in an outcome favourable to the interests of the three Catalan candidates, adding that, whatever the final decision, they intended to take part in the campaign for the May 26th elections.