MADRID – Ten individuals were arrested during a police operation in Melilla on Tuesday, May 23. They are suspected of involvement in postal voting fraud for the upcoming local and regional elections on May 28.
Among them is Mohamed Ahmed Al-lal, the councillor of Districts, Youth, and Civic Participation of the Autonomous City, as well as relatives of political leaders. In a significant development, Councillor Mohamed Ahmed Al-ll was dismissed from the Melilla government on Wednesday, May 24, as reported in the Official Journal of the Autonomous City of Melilla.
Investigation into alleged election fraud
The arrests took place as part of a judicial investigation into alleged election fraud. Applications for mail-in votes had nearly tripled, from 4,200 in 2019 to 11,700 for the upcoming election on Sunday. The case is therefore, under confidentiality.
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Authorities are investigating whether a network has purchased votes for amounts ranging from €50 to €200 per ballot paper. The police have accused the ten detainees of election crimes and membership of a criminal group. The released detainees involved in vote-buying are affiliated with Coalición por Melilla.
Coalición por Melilla (CPM) and those implicated
The ten detainees have connections to Coalición por Melilla (CPM)*, the largest party in the government of the autonomous city since June 2019. Mohamed Ahmed Al-lal, who ranked third on the CPM list for the elections, was among those detained. However, Al-lal claims to be a victim of “political persecution” by the Government delegation and has invoked his right to remain silent in court. Mustafa Aberchán, the son-in-law of the chairman of CPM, has also been arrested.
Investigation of Coalición por Melilla
National police conducted searches at the location where CPM utilises social media and video editing, seizing four computers belonging to the party. CPM intends to contest this action, considering it as “interference” in the campaign and a threat to the election results and fundamental rights, stated Dunia Almansouri, CPM’s lead candidate for the elections. Furthermore, CPM advocates for the suspension of elections until the Ley Orgánica del Régimen Electoral General (LOREG) is amended.
Another potential case of electoral fraud in Mojácar
On Wednesday, May 24, the Guardia Civil arrested seven individuals in Mojácar, Almería, in relation to a new vote-buying case for the upcoming local elections. Authorities have indicated that this case, in which a dozen arrests are expected, is unrelated to the situation in Melilla.
The dismantled organisation is believed to have significant ties to the PSOE. Two of the detainees are ranked second and fifth on the party list, as confirmed by political and investigative sources to Europa Press. The Guardia Civil has conducted numerous house searches, with three additional individuals under investigation.
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*CPM is a nationalist party that advocates for the interests of Melilla and its residents. The party is not distinctly aligned with any specific national-level political leaning, such as left or right. CPM’s primary focus revolves around regional and local issues within Melilla.