Spain bans Catalan separatists from public office

AFP/The Local
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Spain bans Catalan separatists from public office
Former deputy head of the Catalan government Oriol Junqueras is one of the politicians banned from holding public office. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP)

Four Catalan separatist leaders will remain banned from holding public office, the Supreme Court said Monday, despite a legal reform pushed through by Spain’s left-wing government.


The four were among nine Catalan separatists who were convicted over their role in the failed 2017 independence bid.

Jailed for terms of between nine and 13 years, they were subsequently pardoned.


Just before Christmas, Spain passed a controversial criminal code reform that downgraded the two charges used against them, abolishing sedition and reducing the penalty for misuse of public funds.

Analysts said the changes were aimed at courting separatist support ahead of a general election due by the year’s end.

One of those who will remain banned from public office is former Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras, head of the left-wing ERC that runs the Catalonia region and offers parliamentary support to the minority government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

The controversial criminal code reform sparked fierce opposition from Spain’s right-wing opposition but also from some of Sanchez’s own Socialists who have denounced him for giving into separatist demands.

Since taking over in June 2018, Sánchez has adopted a strategy of “defusing” the Catalonia conflict which threw Spain into its worst political crisis in decades, maintaining dialogue with the moderate separatists and pardoning those involved in the independence bid.


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