EXILED former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and his ex-ministers Clara Ponsati and Toni Comin will be allowed to stand in the European elections after courts threw out a bid to block their candidacy by Spain’s Central Electoral Board (JEC).

The country’s Supreme Court on Sunday said it could see no reason to prevent their candidacies, but referred the case to a lower Madrid court for a final ruling, which came yesterday.

It means the trio – who face arrest should they try to enter Spain – can stand on the Free for Europe ticket in the poll later this month.

Puigdemont described the decision as the “first judicial victory in the opposite field” .

“There is a very good legal work behind every victory achieved,” he tweeted.

“All this potential will be put to the service of winning causes and projects for the whole of citizens from the European Parliament.

“Our team knows … how to fight and how to win.”

Xavier Trias, president of the Catalan Democrats, PDeCat, in Barcelona, said: “JEC’s decision to prevent the president and directors from being present in Europe was such an injustice … it would have been an international scandal. It was time for Spanish justice to do this.”

Gonzalo Boye, one of Puigdemont’s lawyers and his provisional substitute on the electoral list, told Catalan television channel TV3 he had taken for granted that the lower court would not rule against the Supreme Court.

He said: “Nobody goes against the judgment of the Supreme Court when specifically the Supreme one has pronounced on the criterion to apply in a [particular] case.”

A majority of JEC members voted for the ban last week, calling Puigdemont’s intention to stand “a mockery of the law”.

However, the ruling is to be challenged by People’s Party (PP) leader Pablo Casado, who said he intended to lodge an appeal with the Constitutional Court.

He said: “We believe that it is a law fraud that someone who is fleeing from Spanish justice can be presented to a European election without even residing in Spain ... I can say that the PP will appeal to the Constitutional Court.”

Casado was speaking after meeting Socialist party leader Pedro Sanchez, who is trying to gather enough support for his investiture as prime minister.

He said his party would not support Sanchez’s swearing-in, and told him: “Do not depend on the independentists.”

Sanchez will meet other opposition leaders – Albert Rivera from Citizens and Pablo Iglesias, of Podemos – later today, after last month’s election left him without enough MPs to form a majority government.