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  • People demonstrate in support of Catalan leader Quim Torra, in Barcelona, Spain January 3, 2020.

    People demonstrate in support of Catalan leader Quim Torra, in Barcelona, Spain January 3, 2020. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 January 2020
Opinion

The decision was justified by arguing that pro-independence leader Quim Torra has been sentenced to prison for the “crime of disobedience.”

Spain's Electoral Board (JEC) Friday dismissed Catalonia's Autonomous Government President Quim Torra from his position as a regional lawmaker. This decision implies his cessation as president since the Statute of Catalonia obliges the head of the Catalan Executive to be a lawmaker.

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Approved with seven votes in favor and six against, the decision of the electoral authority was justified by recalling that the pro-independence politician has recently been sentenced by the Superior Justice Court to a year and a half of disqualification for the “crime of disobedience.”

After being stripped of his condition of a regional lawmaker, Torra accused the Electoral Board of launching a coup d'état against Catalan institutions.

"I denounce a new coup against Catalan institutions. The Electoral Board has assigned itself a role which it cannot attribute to itself by interpreting the execution of a court ruling," he said.

On Dec. 19, Torra was convicted for not having withdrawn a pro-independence symbol from the regional government building in March 2019.

At that time, the JEC ordered Torra to remove a banner showing a yellow loop, under the regulations that prohibit displaying party slogans in public buildings during pre-election periods.

Initially, instead of removing the pro-independence symbol, Torra covered it with a similar one, which had the same motto and a white bow with a red stripe.​​​​​​​

In response to his action, the Prosecutor's Office presented a "disobedience complaint" against Torra that resulted in the judicial process for which he has ended up convicted and disabled.

The legal accusation against Torra was initially filed by the neoliberal-conservative the People's Party (PP), the center-right Party of the Citizenry (Citizens) and the far-right party Vox, which have permanently attacked the pro-independence leaders from Catalonia.

"Quim Torra must be detained," the Vox leader Santiago Abascal said on Saturday, adding that the Catalan politician is "rebel" and "seditious." 

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