The Central Electoral Commission (JEC) on Wednesday ordered the "immediate withdrawal" of a video on the regional elections slated for November 25 broadcast by the Catalan regional government, which is controlled by the center-right CiU nationalist coalition.
In its ruling, the JEC said the recording, which features images of Catalonia's history and a massive pro-independence demonstration in Barcelona, breached electoral rules by steering voter intentions.
The campaign, which cost the regional government 271,000 euros, was brought before the Barcelona Provincial Electoral Commission by the opposition Popular Party, Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and the anti-sovereignty Ciutadans de Catalunya. In the absence of a specific electoral law in Catalonia, the matter was referred to the JEC, which said it contravened national rules.
The article states that political parties are permitted to air campaign broadcasts "of an institutional character designed to inform citizens of the date of the vote, the procedure of voting and requisites of postal voting without influencing the orientation of citizens' votes." The regional government withdrew the video but announced it would appeal the decision, which it says contravenes the Catalan Statute.
"The JEC prohibits us from campaigning, without getting to the heart of the video," said government spokesman Francesc Homs. "It is stopping us from adhering to the statute, which allows for campaigns to encourage voting. No referendum, no fomenting of votes... It seems everything to do with democracy sends people into a panic."
PSC leader Pere Navarro called for "those responsible" for the campaign to resign.