Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
IT | By Lester Massey

Catalan separatist Carles Puigdemont poised to be sworn in from Belgian haven

Catalan separatist Carles Puigdemont poised to be sworn in from Belgian haven

Catalonia's main separatist parties have agreed to re-elect fugitive Carles Puigdemont as president of the region later this month, although how to make that legally possible is still up in the air. The move backfired when independence parties across the political spectrum won a narrow majority in the assembly.

But this was short-lived as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy imposed direct rule on the semi-autonomous region, sacked its government, dissolved its parliament and called snap elections.

A spokesman from his Together for Catalonia political platform said that Puigdemont has gained the support of ERC separatists as well.

Catalonian separatists have chose to reelect Carles Puigdemont as their regional leader when the new regional parliament meets for the first time on January 17. "The presidential candidate will evidently be Puigdemont", Junts pel Catalunya representative Jordi Xucla told Spanish national radio. Puigdemont became the independence movement's leader but is now a fugitive in Belgium.

While Spanish authorities have dropped a bid for a European arrest warrant to deport him, he has previously said he will return to Spain only if it offers certain "guarantees".


Ines Arrimadas added: "It's evident that for governing Catalonia you have to be in Catalonia - you can't do that via WhatsApp or as a hologram".

Mr Puigdemont said on Tuesday at a videoconference that "it is not possible to return to Catalonia" because of the current legal situation. On Friday, judges from the Spanish Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the Esquerra leader, Oriol Junqueras, who has been in jail in Madrid since early November, pending his trial on corruption and sedition charges.

He faces charges of sedition, rebellion, disobedience and misuse of public funds in Spain in the wake of the independence referendum on October 1st and the unilateral declaration of independence in the region on October 27th.

Developments surrounding Catalonia have gripped Spain for months and the tumult is showing no sign of letting up before the newly-elected Catalan parliament's first session next Wednesday.

"Madrid must be made to understand that what is needed is dialogue, negotiation and agreement on the future relationship we Catalans want to have with Spain - one based on respect, recognition, cooperation and equality", Puigdemont wrote.

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