Misc 19/01/2021

Lifting suspension of February election will cost €10m

The amount corresponds to postage costs and subsidies for political parties

Mireia Esteve / Quim Bertomeu / Mariona Ferrer I Fornells
2 min
Urna al CEIP Rosa dels Vents, a la Sagrera / FRANCESC MELCION

MadridThe Catalan High Court's decision to maintain for the time being the call for elections on February 14 has a direct consequence: the resumption of preparations for the electoral process until there is a ruling from the High Court. According to parliamentary sources, the Central Electoral Board has communicated the precautionary measure to the provincial boards just before the decree of electoral suspension issued by the Government was received. And what does this mean? To begin with, the Generalitat will have to pay out €10m to resume at least three procedures: the sending of ballots to homes, the notification of those selected to be at polling stations and the payment of part of the subsidies to the parties.

Specifically, the Generalitat will have to spend €5.2m to send all the ballots to voters' homes for the first time house, as agreed by the Government and the parties before Christmas. A further €3.4m will have to be paid to political parties for campaign expenses, representing 30% of the €11.6m the Generalitat had planned for these subsidies. And finally, the government will have to pay to notify the members of poll stations, who are picked randomly.

Until last Friday, the Generalitat had spent 10% of the total budget planned for the February 14 elections, which was €32m. In fact, the Government had set January 15 as the deadline to decide whether to postpone the elections so as not to compromise the bulk of the money that would have to be paid out this week.

And what will happen with all these procedures and expenses if the elections are finally postponed and it is May 30th? Sources from the Generalitat point out that the answer is uncertain. For example, whatever is paid now to send summonses to the members of the polling stations will undoubtedly be lost, as they would have to be sent again if the elections are finally held on 30 May. It is also in doubt whether it will have to pay for the sending of the ballots or the party subsidies again. In short, a mess that could compromise €10m.