Spanish election tainted by postal voting fraud arrests
The Spanish Civil Guard arrested seven people Wednesday and is investigating three for allegedly buying postal votes in Mojácar just four days before Spain’s key regional and municipal elections.
Sources close to the case reported that two detainees are on the Socialist Party (PSOE/S&D) lists for Sunday’s municipal and regional election.
On the eve of the operation in Mojácar, Police arrested ten people in the Spanish autonomous city of Melilla, on the North African coast, among them a regional councillor, also for alleged vote buying.
Left-wing party Coalición por Melilla (CPM) said that the party is – in their view – the victim of political attacks by its rivals ahead of Sunday’s election.
Given the suspicions of CPM’s alleged involvement in the case, the party was excluded last week from the so-called “Turia Agreement”, a local cooperation agreement signed by several left-wing parties, among them Compromís (active in the Valencia region/East) and Más País (More Country), party sources told EFE.
CPM’s detained councillor, Mohamed Ahmed Al-lal, head of Districts, Youth and Citizen Participation in the regional executive, and number three on the party lists for Sunday’s election, was fired from his position as councillor on Wednesday. He was also expelled from the formation.
“Nobody can break the rules”, the government’s spokesperson, Isabel Rodríguez (PSOE/S&D), told a press conference Tuesday.
However, sources close to the two cases said they are unrelated.
Meanwhile, Elías Bendodo, centre-right Partido Popular (PP/EPP) general coordinator, urged Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to shed full light on the Mojácar and Melilla cases.
“We understand that they are nervous (PSOE), but it is one thing to be nervous and another to break the rules of the game”, he said.
According to the Spanish electoral law, citizens who want to vote by post must only identify themselves when requesting this form of vote and when receiving the electoral documentation. They need not do so when sending the vote, as all voters who go to the ballot box in person do.
After the scandal, political parties have expressed their will to change the system.
Spain will hold regional and municipal elections on Sunday, with a general election expected to occur in December, during the country’s final month at the helm of the EU Council presidency.
(Fernando Heller | EuroEFE.EURACTIV.es)