Uncertainty Grows as Catalan Leader Comeback Bid Delayed

Uncertainty Grows as Catalan Leader Comeback Bid Delayed
Uncertainty Grows as Catalan Leader Comeback Bid Delayed

Catalonia was plunged into further uncertainty on Tuesday as the region’s parliamentary speaker postponed a crucial vote to reappoint ousted separatist president Carles Puigdemont but vowed to have him reinstated at a later date.

Roger Torrent announced he had delayed the parliamentary session to ensure it could later go ahead in an “effective” way after Spain’s Constitutional Court ruled against it, drawing protests from Puigdemont’s Together for Catalonia grouping but welcomed by Madrid, AFP reported.

But he staunchly defended Puigdemont’s right to be reappointed despite his self-exile in Belgium after separatist parties won an absolute majority in December elections and the former regional leader was officially designated as candidate for the presidency.

“The Spanish government and the Constitutional Court are trying to violate the rights of thousands of Catalans who went to the polls on December 21 and we won’t allow that,” Torrent, also a separatist, told reporters.

  Puigdemont Still Candidate

“I won’t propose any other candidate,” he said, putting paid to speculation that separatists might drop Puigdemont and pick another candidate. Puigdemont, who left for Belgium shortly after he was sacked by Madrid after Catalonia’s parliament declared independence in October, faces arrest if he returns to Spain for leading the secession bid in the deeply divided northeastern region.

Catalan lawmakers had been due to formally vote him into office on Tuesday afternoon.

But the Constitutional Court ruled on Saturday—in response to a lawsuit filed by the central government—that Puigdemont must be present at the assembly to be chosen as the region’s chief, causing uncertainty over whether the parliamentary session would go ahead.

The court also warned that swearing in Puigdemont at a distance, by videoconference as some of his supporters have proposed, would not be valid.

And it ruled that Puigdemont must ask a Supreme Court judge leading the investigation into his role in Catalonia’s independence push for permission to attend the parliamentary session.


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