The Central Electoral Board has partially supported two appeals submitted by Ciutadans (Citizens Party) against resolutions of the Barcelona Electoral Board. On the one hand, the board ask for the public media to avoid terms such as “Government in exile” and “imprisoned counselors” because they believe they violate the principle of neutrality and equality between candidates. They also state that the Catalan Audiovisual Media Corporation (CCMA) has been “negligent” in ensuring that these principles are in vigor and asks them to “avoid using informative treatments that may lead to confusion during the campaign”.
“The spectator can come to the false conclusion that there is a legitimate Government in exile, that there is political persecution of the counsellors who are in prison or that a certain candidate is the genuine heir to this alleged Government in exile, concealing or disguising the reality that such an exile does not exist but is rather a pure and simple application of the laws in vigor in a democratic country,” it states. On the other hand, the Electoral board also considers that the news coverage of the November 11th demonstration calling for the ‘Freedom of political prisoners’ violated the principles of political pluralism and informative neutrality. However, it did not award compensatory measures to Cs, as demanded by the party.
Ciutadans had submitted two appeals to the Central Electoral Board to disagree with the resolutions issued by the Barcelona Electoral Board. In both cases, the board agreed with the party of Albert Rivera.
One of the appeals refers to the use of language to address Carles Puigdemont and his Government, once article 155 was applied and they had been dismissed. Ciutadans criticized the use in public of terms like “Government in exile”, “imprisoned counselors” or “Puigdemont’s list”. The Central Electoral Board considers that the CCMA has been “negligent” in ensuring compliance with principles of neutrality and equality of candidates and that this terminology may end up “confusing the average viewer.”
In the resolution, the Central Electoral Board denies that there is “a legitimate Catalan Government whose members are exiled in Belgium,” as well as saying that it is not true that they have been jailed for their ideas “as political prisoners.” According to the resolution, “legal reality is different”: the Government was sacked due to the application of article 155 and the imprisoned members are “being submitted to the application of the Criminal Procedure Act.” In this sense, the board points out that the use of language in the public media “produces confusion between the legal reality and this other alleged reality that may electorally favor some candidatures.”