Judge assigned to Spanish royal trial will run for Congress with Podemos

Anti-austerity party recruits justice Juan Pedro Yllanes, who was due to oversee Nóos case

Judge Juan Pedro Yllanes will run for Congress with Podemos.
Judge Juan Pedro Yllanes will run for Congress with Podemos.TOLO RAMON

With just over a month to go before Spain holds pivotal elections, anti-austerity party Podemos has been seeking to recruit big-name candidates for its campaign.

Its latest signing is Juan Pedro Yllanes, the judge who had been scheduled to preside one of the country’s most widely anticipated court cases: the Nóos corruption trial involving King Felipe’s sister.

Regarding personal decisions, what we need to do is respect them”

Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias

The Nóos trial marks the first time that a member of the Spanish royal family will have to sit in the dock after Cristina de Borbón became embroiled in a bribes-for-contracts scheme devised by her husband Iñaki Urdangarin and his business partner Diego Torres. A former premier of the Balearic Islands, Jaume Matas, will also stand trial in Palma de Mallorca next year.

Yllanes accepted to run with Podemos after the examining magistrate who headed the Nóos investigation, José Castro, declined the party’s offer.

“His career is spotless and his character impeccable,” said Alberto Jarabo, the Podemos leader in the Balearic Islands, about Yllanes. “He has fought tenaciously against real estate corruption, in favor of the environment, and for women’s rights.”

But the emerging party has also lost several key candidates in recent weeks. The latest ones to go are Javier Pérez Royo and José Manuel Gómez Benítez, experts on constitutional and criminal law, respectively, who both decided to step down for personal reasons.

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“Regarding personal decisions, what we need to do is respect them,” said Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias.

Earlier this month, a former high-ranking military officer announced that he was to run for Congress with Podemos.

The December 20 election will mark the first time in Spain’s modern democratic history that two emerging parties – Podemos and Ciudadanos – will mount a serious challenge to the Popular Party and the Socialists, the two main groups that have taken turns in power since the Francoist dictatorship ended in the 1970s.

English version by Susana Urra.

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