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Vox Secretary General Javier Ortega Smith outside the seat of the Constitutional Court in July 2021Chema Moya (EFE)

A judge in Granada has canceled the primary elections held by Vox in September 2020 to elect its provincial committees and ordered Santiago Abascal’s party to pay three affiliates €72,000 (€24,000 each) for violating their constitutionally recognized fundamental right to democratic participation have hurt. The Vox primaries were held on the basis of an “opaque, not very transparent and ultimately unreliable and even manipulable” system, according to the judgment of the President of the First Instance Court No. 6 of Granada.

The three plaintiffs were part of the candidacy of Ignacio Pozo, who competed with the ruling party, whose number one was Manuel Martín Montero, president of the Madrid-handpicked manager. The Critical candidacy received 88 guarantees, ten more than needed to present itself (the regulations required the support of 10% of the affiliates in the province). However, the party’s election committee canceled 15 endorsements, leaving the critical list with five fewer than required for the contest, and declared the official candidacy the winner without holding elections.

The Vox electoral committee did not explain the reasons for the cancellation of these 15 guarantees and did not provide copies of them because the computer program developed for the internal election process prevented this.

In her July 15 ruling, the judge found that the entire Vox primary process suffered from “lack of guarantees” and “obvious opportunities for fraud” because the system “did not allow internal elections to be held without interference.” the apparatus” of the party; it did not allow candidates to “have examiners to check the number of endorsements and compliance with requirements” and there was no “record of who each member had given their endorsements to, creating defenselessness” for applicants.

Although in theory the security of the system has been accredited, the judge notes numerous irregularities, such as the fact that “inexplicably” endorsements were accepted from candidates who did not even show up (one of them, a certain Ignacio Nogueras, whom you do not know ) or that, although theoretically it could not be confirmed without being up to date with the payment, on the date the internal elections were called (31 August 2020), the system made the payment of the outstanding fees at the time of Confirmation allowed and then the election committee decided on the validity of the guarantees. As the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Antonio Estella, pointed out, Marta Castro, deputy legal secretary of the party and a member of the national leadership, was one of the members of this committee.

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The judge denied that a copy of the endorsements could not be sent to the candidates because it was not technically possible, as Vox replied, “because a telematic system cannot decide on the right of access” of the affiliates; and stresses that the final decision on the validity of the guarantees rests with the Electoral Committee itself; “In short, to a person, not a computer system”.

However, in the trial in which Vox Secretary General Javier Ortega Smith and Electoral Committee Secretary General José María Figaredo testified, they stated that “there is no primary trial taking place in the party today”. That is, Abascal has changed its constitution and the provincial committees are no longer elected by the members, but appointed by the national leadership. Therefore, the judge concludes that “there is no real restoration of the violated fundamental right by going back at the beginning of the electoral process”. Therefore, “the only form of compensation for non-pecuniary damage caused is financial compensation” of 72,000 euros that Vox has to pay. Plus the process costs.

However, in the trial in which Vox Secretary General Javier Ortega Smith and Electoral Committee Secretary General José María Figaredo testified, they stated: “Today there are no primaries in the party”. That is, Abascal has changed its constitution and the provincial committees are no longer elected by the members, but appointed by the national leadership.

Therefore, the judge concludes that “there is no real restoration of the violated fundamental right by going back at the beginning of the electoral process”. Therefore, “the only form of compensation for non-pecuniary damage caused is financial compensation” of 72,000 euros that Vox has to pay. Plus the process costs.

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Source elpais.com

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