Barcelona (ACN).- The main Electoral Authority in Spain (Junta Electoral Central) has ordered on Thursday the removal of all Catalan independence flags from all “public buildings and polling stations” in Catalonia during the electoral campaign for the Municipal Elections, which take place on 24 May. The order comes after a request from the main pro-Spanish unity civil society group, Societat Civil Catalana (SCC). According to SCC, there are pro-independence flags located in public spaces in 323 municipalities throughout Catalonia and this “violates political neutrality” during the electoral campaign. 710 of the 947 existing town councils in Catalonia have democratically voted to support independence and join the Municipalities for Independence Association (AMI). Many of them have flown pro-independence flags from town hall balconies or in public spaces. SCC argued that the main pro-independence parties are regularly using the pro-independence flag in their rallies and therefore the flag “has been integrated into their own partisan symbolism”.
Spain’s main Electoral Authority issued an order on Thursday requesting the immediate removal of all pro-independence flags located in public buildings or in polling stations since “public powers are obliged to strictly keep political neutrality and therefore must abstain from showing symbols that may be considered partisan in public buildings and electoral spaces”. For this reason, they “must remove those that were in place before the electoral call”, which was made official on 31 March by the publication of the call in the Spanish State’s Official Journal (BOE). For further clarification, the Electoral Authority highlighted that this order includes “the flags that were the object of the consultation” made by SCC. The order will be sent to all the local Electoral Authorities to ensure that it is respected.