Spain is different, also when it comes to politics

24 May 2019

A fugitive from justice, an imprisoned politician and a collaborator of a terrorist group could all be elected next Sunday to represent Spain in the European Parliament.

Carles Puigdemont, former president of Catalonia, was confirmed as a candidate once the Spanish Supreme Court rejected the veto issued by the country’s Central Election Board. Puigdemont fled Spain back in October 2017, one day after having failed to declare the independence of Catalonia. Since then, he has been living in Waterloo, Belgium, trying to scale up Spain’s internal conflict to the EU arena. It remains to be seen whether Puigdemont as MEP will have parliamentary immunity from prosecution. That is a key question as he must go back to Spain to pick up his MEP certificate and, without immunity, would likely be arrested at the border.

Oriol Junqueras, former vice-president of Catalonia will run to become MEP from prison. He decided not to leave the country at the time of the attempted declaration of independence. Junqueras has been in custody since October 2017 while the trial is pending. If convicted, he faces 25 years imprisonment.

Pernando Barrena, will represent the left independent Basque movement in the upcoming EU elections. He is well-known for having collaborated with the today extinct terrorist group ETA, as he himself acknowledged during a trial in 2016.

As the famous slogan read back in the 50s: “Spain is different”. Not only for its folklore to attract tourists, but now also for its politics.

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