November 27, 2022

Non-partisan and pluralist communication and debate platform

Home » Content » Catalan President Quim Torra, the story of a disqualification
"Yes, I disobeyed," the president of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, would later admit at the trial, and that, although the deadline had expired, he ended up complying with the order of the JEC. In this story everything was a matter of days, or even hours. The Electoral Board denounced Torra for disobeying his request to remove the banner for the freedom of the "prisoners and exiles" of Palau during the electoral period. Ciudadanos (the party) denounced before the JEC - the highest authority in the electoral administration - the banners and ties in favor of the imprisoned independence leaders and exiliates present in the public buildings of the Generalitat, considering that it violated due neutrality.

SERGI QUITIAN, BARCELONA 09/28/2020
The balcony of the Generalitat while the first banner with the yellow ribbon is covered with a second with the white ribbon and a red stripe (Xavier Cervera)

It was up to three different banners in two days. The balcony of the Palau de la Generalitat experienced in March 2019, at the gates of the electoral cycle that spring, a dance of posters. For “the freedom of political prisoners and exiles” with a yellow ribbon, first, and a white ribbon with a red cross band, later, until finally ending with article 19 of the universal declaration of human rights: “Freedom of opinion and expression ”. A dribble against the requirements of the Central Electoral Board (JEC), which considered the first two banners as “partisan symbols” and which ended with a complaint for disobedience. “Yes, I disobeyed,” the president of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, would later admit at the trial, and that, although the deadline had expired, he ended up complying with the order of the JEC. In this story everything was a matter of days, or even hours.

Once the general elections of April 28, 2019 were already called – and with the procés trial already underway – the first movement was made by Ciudadanos, a party that denounced before the JEC – the highest authority in the electoral administration – the banners and ties in In favor of the imprisoned independence leaders and expatriates present in the public buildings of the Generalitat, considering that it violated due neutrality. An appeal that the Central Electoral Board resolved in his favor. Thus, on March 11, 2019, the electoral referee required Torra to order the “immediate withdrawal of “estelades” (indepedence flags) or yellow ribbons that may be found in any public building dependent on the Generalitat de Catalunya within 48 hours.”

March 11th
The first request of the JEC after a complaint from Cs

That meeting of the JEC was already long and anticipated the legal pulse with the head of Catalan Government. “The yellow ribbon and the”estelades” (indepedence) flag are partisan symbols used by electoral formations concurrent to the elections,” was justified in the first resolution of the Electoral Board. Arguments that Torra rejected. Just when these 48 hours were up, already on the 13th, the president of the Generalitat presented a brief of allegations before the JEC in which two reasons stood out: first, the “fundamental right to freedom of expression of officials” , and secondly, the manifest “legal difficulty” of complying with the order due to the amount, dispersion and varied ownership of buildings.

Two days later, Torra expanded his allegations by adding that the yellow ribbon was a universal symbol with no connection to a specific political party. In fact, the head of the Government went so far as to list a series of historical uses of the yellow ribbon that ranged from expressions of solidarity for a plane crash in South Korea to the crisis of the hostages of Iran in the United States.

March, 19
Torra ignores a second notice from the Electoral Board and consults the Ombudsman

The following week, Monday the 18th dawned with a new notice from the Electoral Board to Torra. On this occasion, the electoral referee granted the president of the Generalitat 24 hours to remove the banners and yellow ribbons from public offices. And they accompanied him with a warning: if he “persisted in disobedience” to the Board’s agreements, he could incur criminal liability.

Even so, the head of the Government once again ignored the demand of the JEC – prior presentation of the corresponding allegations – and once again the deadline was met, and taking advantage of the Executive Council meeting on Tuesday 19, decided to keep the pulse. Of course, at the same time he requested a report from the Ombudsman on the suitability of keeping the banner with the noose. A report that came the day after (Wednesday 20) urging the withdrawal of ties and banners during the electoral period.

March 21 (morning)
Color change, same banner: yellow tie became white with a red stripe

Torra had promised to comply with the Catalan Ombudsman’s recommendations and the following day (Thursday 21), hours before the JEC met again, there was the first movement of flags on the balcony of Palau. In the morning, and without Torra in the building, officials of the Generalitat covered the first poster for the “freedom of political prisoners and exiles” and the yellow ribbon with another exactly the same, but with a white ribbon crossed out with a red stripe , which was reminiscent of the symbol used by “Els Joglars” in a campaign against post-Franco censorship.

However, Torra was not the most original and at the same time tricks abounded in buildings and town halls throughout Catalonia. The one that perhaps made the most fortune was that of the Port de la Selva City Council, which called for the “freedom of peaceful fish”.

March 21 (afternoon)
The JEC decides to take Torra to the Prosecutor’s Office and orders the withdrawal of the second poster to Catalan police Mossos

“There are no estelades or yellow ties”, the president of the Generalitat would expose that same Thursday in another letter to the JEC. However, the color change did not convince the JEC, which after their meeting that Thursday the 21st in the afternoon decided to take Torra to the Prosecutor’s Office for a crime of disobedience and sent an instruction to the Mossos d’Esquadra to withdraw the ties and banners of the main public buildings before Friday 22 at 3:00 p.m.

March 22
Torra removed the second banner before the Mossos entered in the Palau of Generalitat … and three hours later he placed a third banner

The ultimatum of the Mossos was final and Torra, who wanted to avoid the image of the Catalan police entering Palau to remove the banner from the balcony, ordered the removal of this second poster (with the white ribbon crossed out in red) shortly before 12.30 noon hours on Friday 22, eleven days after the first request of the JEC and a handful of hours after the transfer of the file to the Prosecutor’s Office. On the same day, the Government of Pedro Sánchez stressed that, in the end, what Torra was doing was “obeying”, although “it should have done so from day one.”

However, the president of the Generalitat announced a complaint against the Electoral Board and encouraged citizens to fill private balconies with pro-independence banners. But the dance did not end here, less than three hours after removing the second banner, two members of Torra’s team hung a third poster with the slogan “Freedom of opinion and expression” and its legend, recalling its reference to article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A third banner that, according to the Electoral Board, did respect the legislation and neutrality during the electoral period.

Decembre 19th
The complaint goes ahead and the TSJC sentences Torra to a year and a half of disqualification

Despite this, the complaint was already open and on Wednesday, March 27, the Prosecutor’s Office responded to the JEC report and sued Torra for ignoring the electoral referee. In it, the Public Ministry pointed out that the President of the Generalitat “consciously and deliberately” disregarded the mandate of the JEC, maintaining ties and symbols “in numerous public dependencies and establishments, in an action“ directed by him ”although was in a covert or symbolic way when, in addition, the mandate was “clear and express.”

The issue came to trial, in the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC), on November 18 of the same year 2019. And a month later, on December 19, the same court sentenced Torra to a year and a half of disqualification and a 30,000 euro fine for a crime of disobedience. This led to the withdrawal of the seat of the President of the Generalitat in the Parliament and Torra to appeal the sentence to the Supreme Court by defending that he wanted to be removed in an “illegal and illegitimate” way from his position at the head of the Government.

September 2020
Second trial in the TSJC and final judgment of the Supreme

In parallel, it should be remembered that Torra returned to attend a second hearing at the TSJC on September 23 for a new cause of disobedience for not removing the same banner with the yellow ribbon in time in September 2019, before the general elections of that November.

Last Thursday, September 17, he finally went to the High Court to review the sentence of the TSJC, however, the Supreme Court has decided today to endorse the ruling and maintain the disqualification of the president of the Generlitat, ending Torra’s journey in front of the Government and suspending the Catalan legislature.

https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20200928/483646391237/quim-torra-inhabilitacion-historia.html

OpenKat

View all posts

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *