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Catalan politics gets tied up in knots as judges overrule change of election date

Pere Aragonès with Catalan Socialist leader Miquel Iceta in the Parlament this week.
Pere Aragonès with Catalan Socialist leader Miquel Iceta in the Parlament this week. / EFE
  • Vice-president Pere Aragonès, who is acting president, announced last week that the date set for a regional vote, 14 February, would need to be moved to 30 May

The political situation in Catalonia was growing more complex by the day this week as the regional government there battled with the courts to try to move the planned elections on 14 February to 30 May.

Catalonia has been without a firm government for almost a year after the pro-independence coalition collapsed, and last autumn former president Quim Torra was banned from public office.

Catalan vice-president Pere Aragonès, who is acting president, announced last week that the date set for a regional vote, 14 February, would need to be moved to 30 May as the election set-up couldn't be guaranteed due to the pandemic.

This was followed at once by complaints to the courts over the change, with allegations that the current regional ministers could keep suspending elections indefinitely by blaming Covid-19.

On Tuesday this week Catalonia's top court suspended the change of date and gave the regional government 48 hours to argue its case better.

Pere Aragonès urged the courts to act "responsibly" in finally allowing the change of date, saying he "would fight to the end" to hold later elections in May.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Wednesday that Catalonia needed a fully functioning government "as soon as possible".