Spain's top court upholds public office ban for Catalonia's regional chief

  • World
  • Monday, 28 Sep 2020

FILE PHOTO: Leader of Catalonia's regional government Quim Torra speaks during a session at the Parliament of Catalonia a day before the Supreme Court sees the appeal that he presented against his disqualification for the banner case, in Barcelona, Spain September 16, 2020. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's Supreme Court on Monday upheld an 18-month ban from public office for Catalonia's separatist, regional head of government Quim Torra on charges of disobedience.

The case stems from Torra's refusal to follow the orders of Spain's electoral committee to remove symbols supporting jailed and self-exiled independence leaders from his government palace during a national election campaign in 2019. He defended his actions on the grounds of freedom of expression.

The ruling can be appealed but it takes effect once it is fully notified, meaning that deputy Catalan leader Pere Aragones is set to soon become acting head of the regional government.

The ban may prompt a snap election in the northeastern Spanish region to find a replacement if, as expected, the regional parliament does not vote a candidate for the post in the coming days.

(Reporting by Belen Carreno, Inti Landauro, Joan Faus and Emma Pinedo; Editing by Ingrid Melander)

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