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  • Catalan pro-independence activists hold signs reading 'Free Political Prisoners' in Barcelona, Spain, Nov. 5, 2019.

    Catalan pro-independence activists hold signs reading 'Free Political Prisoners' in Barcelona, Spain, Nov. 5, 2019. | Photo: reuters

Published 8 November 2019

The Spanish authorities hold that Oriol Junqueras is not "eligible" due to his 13-year prison sentence.

Spain's Central Electoral Board (JEC) on Friday dismissed the possibility that Oriol Junqueras, a Catalan pro-independence leader, can stand as a candidate for Sunday's election as he had requested.

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The JEC supported its decision on the grounds that Catalonia's former Vice-President is not "eligible" because he has been sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Junqueras is one of the nine pro-independence activists who were convicted of sedition after the 2017 Referendum whereby the Catalans expressed their desire to separate from Spain.

The Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) leader on Thursday requested his "restitution" as a candidate until the European Union Justice Court decides on his immunity as a parliamentary representative.

On November 11, Spaniards have been called to participate in the fourth general elections convened in the last four years.

"Independence is irreversible. Prison is just a phase bringing us closer to freedom," Oriol Junqueras.

This political event will take place because the April 28 elections did not bring about a parliamentary majority and political parties could not reach agreements to constitute a new government.

According to the latests polls, the number of pro-independence legislators is likely to increase in Catalonia, a region that could witness for the first time even lawmakers from the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP), an assembly-based organization which works for an independent, socialist, environmentally sustainable and gender-fair country.

Meanwhile, as part of its ongoing attempts to halt ​​​​​​​or delay Catalonia's independence, Spain has reactivated international arrests warrants for activists such as Lluis Puig, Toni Comin, and Clara Ponsati, who are living abroad.

After being notified of their arrest warrants by the Belgian police on Thursday, Puig and Comin are contesting their extradition and a court will hold a hearing on the matter on November 15.

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