The Basque Country Electoral Board has already established a series of cleaning measures in polling stations and queuing control when voting to prevent the spread of the coronavirus epidemic in the autonomic elections of April 5.
These preventive measures respond to the current phase of virus containment, although it is not ruled out that they may vary in the coming days.
In fact, the president of this Electoral Board, Juan Luis Ibarra, has recognized that there is a “legal loophole” as to who would be in charge of suspending the elections if the coronavirus infection were more extensive.
The Basque Country Electoral Board met this afternoon in Vitoria to analyze the effects that the coronavirus epidemic would have on the electoral process.
No measures have been adopted for the campaign since they have not received indications about it from the Department of Health, said Ibarra, who recalled that yesterday the Spanish Government agreed to suspend the events in closed spaces where more than a thousand congregate people in the most affected areas, including in Vitoria.
Therefore, the only thing that has been agreed for the moment is to establish cleaning measures before and during the 5A day, as well as in the count, in the nearly 800 polling stations, where disinfectant tanks will be placed and gloves will be provided to all the members of the tables, proxies and auditors.
In addition, to prevent people from building up at peak times, the Ertzaintza will be in charge of managing waiting times in schools.
Asked by who would be in charge of making the decision to postpone the elections if necessary, Juan Luis Ibarra explained that in the current legal context “there is no rule” that enables the Electoral Board of the Basque Country to adopt that measure.
Only, the jurisdiction of the administrative litigation is authorized to declare the invalidity of the voting at certain tables if there is a demand for not having been able to exercise the right to vote, for example by citizens who are confined in their homes, he added.
However, the president of the Basque Country Superior Court of Justice does not rule out that this “legal gap” that exists today can be “filled” with rules that do exist and that would have to be adapted for the first time to this case.
This very Wednesday the Permanent Commission of the General Council of the Judiciary has decided that for the moment the trials in Euskadi are not suspended.
It has also been agreed to immediately implement “extreme cleaning” measures in guard courts, civil registries and deanery, and to place partitions on public service counters. Furthermore, in Vitoria, lawyers may not wear the gown, since they are not personalized and are shared.
This is the second meeting held by the Basque Country Electoral Board. The next appointment is scheduled for next Tuesday, the 17th, two days after the start of the campaign.