CATALAN CRISIS

Parties demand “viable” candidate for Catalan premier after Puigdemont presented once more

The regional parliament passed a reform on Friday to allow deputies to vote remotely, but the central government in Madrid has already started process to appeal that measure

Former Catalan premier Carles Puigdemont and deputy Elsa Artadi, in Berlin this weekend.
Former Catalan premier Carles Puigdemont and deputy Elsa Artadi, in Berlin this weekend.Christophe Gateau (AP)

Opposition parties in Catalonia on Sunday called on the pro-independence groups in the regional parliament to come up with a legal and viable candidate for premier, after Junts per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia) insisted the day before on presenting Carles Puigdemont once again. The former Catalan premier fled from the Spanish authorities late last year after the Catalan parliament passed a unilateral declaration of independence, and is currently in Germany awaiting possible extradition to Spain where he is wanted on charges of rebellion and misuse of funds.

Pro-independence forces want their deputies to be able to vote remotely in an investiture debate

The organization secretary from the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), Salvador Illa, called Puigdemont’s candidacy a “waste of time,” adding that it would be “impossible” for such an investiture to go ahead in the current circumstances. The pro-independence forces want their deputies to be able to vote remotely in an investiture debate, given that several are being held in custody and several more are in other countries given that they are wanted by the Spanish authorities. In order to do this, the parliament on Friday approved a reform of the Presidency Law to allow for remote voting. The vote went through with the support of the 70 pro-independence deputies in the chamber and the opposition of 64.

The change to the law is likely to be fleeting, however, given that the central government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has already begun legal proceedings to appeal it at the Constitutional Court, which will see its immediate suspension. Pro-independence deputy Antoni Castellà admitted on Friday during the debate prior to the vote that the change may never come into force, but that its existence would “show up” the Spanish state and those deputies in the regional government who, he claims, do not respect the result of the December 21 elections, which were won by pro-independence parties, albeit without a clear majority.

“Catalonia needs a government, and the obstacle for that government to be formed is called Carles Puigdemont,” the PSC’s Illa said. “That is why the proposal made by Junts per Catalunya [Saturday] is a deception for Catalans, a waste of time, a hoax.”

Ciudadanos has called on pro-independence deputies to spell out to Puigdemont that he cannot be the head of the next Catalan government

Emerging center-right party Ciudadanos, meanwhile, which is fiercely opposed to independence for Catalonia, has called on pro-independence deputies to be “brave” and spell out to Puigdemont that he cannot be the head of the next Catalan government.

Meanwhile, the head of the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) party, Oriol Junqueras, called on his fellow pro-independence deputies to form a government and not leave events in the hands “of the enemies of the republic,” in reference to the PP government, which assumed control of the region’s autonomous powers last year under Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which was enacted in the wake of the unilateral declaration of independence. Junqueras has been held in custody in a Madrid jail for the last six months while he awaits trial for his role in the region’s bid for independence from the rest of Spain.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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