Nine people arrested in an operation against the purchase of votes in Spain


May 24, 2023 04:39 GMT

One of those captured is the councilor for Districts, Youth and Citizen Participation of Melilla.

The National Police of Spain has arrested nine people in Melilla related to an alleged crime of buying votes, less than a week after the celebration of the municipal electionsnext Sunday May 28.

The arrests occurred between Monday and Tuesday. In the group of detainees is the Minister of Districts, Youth and Citizen Participation of the autonomous government of Melilla, a Spanish city located north of Morocco. All of them have already been released, according to the local press.

The detainee is Mohamed Ahmed Al Lal, number three on the list for the elections of the Coalition for Melilla (CpM), a formation that is second in the polls and is chaired by Mustafa Aberchán, who was sentenced for vote buying years ago and is disqualified.

During the operation have been carried out 10 records, one of which was carried out in a place that CpM uses as a data center and headquarters of the campaign team. Voting ballots and money have been found in the records.

Apparently, among the ballots found, there would be some of those that were stolen in recent weeks.

The nine detainees would be part of the dozens of suspects that the Provincial Police Information Brigade was considering. Most, for now, would be petty criminals who presumably occupy the lowest part of the criminal network.

Supposedly, the detainees were only in charge of capturing the vote of the vulnerable population in exchange for, according to the shuffling, between 50 and 150 euros.

In addition, the investigation also investigates an alleged attempt to bribe a Post Office official from a post office on the Peninsula, from which it is believed that the network intended to send postal votes to Melilla.

Seven times more votes by mail

The investigations began after the suspicion of the existence of networks to buy votes by mail. The alarms went off when it was found that 11,707 citizens had requested to pay for this modality, which means more than 20% of the electoral roll.

The figure is more than double that registered in the last elections in Melilla and substantially higher than the national average, which stands at 2.8%.

One of those arrested this Tuesday, after being released hours later, would have declared: “Instead of taking [Mustafa] aberchán oa [Juan José] imbroda [presidente de Melilla y líder del PP en la ciudad] do they catch us? We are here on the street, nothing more, and we advise the neighbors for the vote, but those who buy, they are the ones who pay for the votesand they don’t catch them”, collect The country.

Electoral fraud?  The 'anomaly' caused by an investigation in Spain for buying votes

In recent weeks, Melilla has been experiencing a rarefied climate on the verge of election day. So far, there have been at least five postman robberies to steal electoral ballots, which has motivated them to have to work under police escort.

In the same way, since the police operation to buy votes began, political leaders have staged a crossroads of reproaches, accusing each other of electoral crimes.

History of vote buying

For years, crimes related to vote buying have been investigated, some of which have even been settled in court.

In 2021, for example, the Supreme Court upheld the two-year prison sentence imposed on Aberchánleader of the CpM, and the former general secretary of the Socialist Party in the autonomous city, Dionisio de Melilla, for buying votes by mail in the 2008 Senate elections. At that time, the two parties ran in coalition for the elections.

In the Popular Party (PP), currently in power in Melilla, two of their charges were also tried for the same crime, although they were acquitted.

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