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Catalan Separatists Agree Deal to Reelect Puigdemont

Catalan Separatists Agree Deal to Reelect PuigdemontCatalan Separatists Agree Deal to Reelect Puigdemont

Catalonia’s main separatist parties said on Wednesday they have agreed to reelect Carles Puigdemont as president of the region later this month, although how to make that legally possible is still up in the air.

Puigdemont, who has been in Brussels since he was sacked in October over an attempt to secede from Spain, faces immediate arrest if he returns home. He wants the separatist majority in the new regional parliament to appoint him despite his absence, AP reported.

The Catalan assembly’s regulations are ambiguous about that possibility, but the anti-independence opposition says that a president cannot  govern from afar.

“It’s evident that for governing Catalonia you have to be in Catalonia, you can’t do that via WhatsApp or as a hologram,” said Ines Arrimadas, the leader of the anti-independence Ciutadans (Citizens) party. “A person who is fleeing justice can’t be the president.”

A spokesman with Puigdemont’s Junts per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia) ticket said that the separatist politician secured the backing of the left-republican ERC party Tuesday evening in Brussels.

The parties jointly hold 66 of the 135 seats in the regional chamber, and can add the support of four anti-establishment lawmakers.

The separatists’ dominance of the chamber, however, depends on jailed or elected lawmakers living abroad who won’t be able to vote unless they are released or give up their seats to someone else on the party list. But a new president can form government with a simple majority in a second attempt.

An ERC spokesman also confirmed the deal, adding that Puigdemont will propose to speak via video conference to the regional parliament later this month or have a fellow party lawmaker read the mandatory speech that candidates to the regional leadership need to deliver before being voted in.

 

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