Catalan house speaker Roger Torrent has named Carles Puigdemont as the sole candidate for premier of the Catalan regional parliament.
“I have consulted parliamentary groups and certify that the only candidate proposed has been Carles Puigdemont and I will propose him as the next Catalan premier,” said Torrent.
If Puigdemont’s bid fails, Oriol Junqueras is widely expected to step up as a candidate to the premiership
The speaker has also sent a letter to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to invite the leader to discuss the political crisis in Catalan.
This comes as the Spanish Supreme Court considers whether to grant a request by Spanish prosecutors to activate the European arrest warrant for Puigdemont after he left Brussels for Denmark. The ousted Catalan premier landed in Copenhagen on Monday morning to attend a conference at the University of Copenhagen – despite the risk of arrest.
This is the first time in 80 days that the sacked premier has left Brussels, where he fled to in November to avoid charges of sedition, rebellion and misappropriation of public funds over the illegal independence push. If the Supreme Court agrees to activate the order, Puigdemont may be forced to stand aside.
Parliamentary bylaws also expressly forbid remote appointments, meaning the sacked premier would need to physically appear before Congress in order to be sworn in.
So far, pro-independence party Catalan Republican Left (ERC) has insisted that it is supporting Puigdemont’s nomination, but that nothing has been agreed to in terms of legal ways to get him sworn in.
While Puigdemont fled Spain shortly after the unilateral independence declaration, his deputy Oriol Junqueras, the longtime leader of ERC, stayed and was remanded in custody. He remains in a Madrid penitentiary after the Supreme Court denied his requests for release. If Puigdemont’s bid fails, Junqueras is widely expected to step up as a candidate to the premiership.