Puigdemont Throws in the Towel for Catalan Presidency

Puigdemont Throws in the Towel for Catalan PresidencyPuigdemont Throws in the Towel for Catalan Presidency

Catalonia’s former separatist leader, Carles Puigdemont, has withdrawn his candidacy for president of the Spanish region after months of political deadlock with Madrid.

Puigdemont was the only candidate put forward by Catalonia’s parliament in Barcelona and lawmakers were expected to vote him in for another term as president, CNN reported.

But Puigdemont has been unable to overcome Madrid, which continues to seek the arrest of the separatist over his aggressive push to break Catalonia away from Spain. The independence drive plunged the country into its worst political crisis in decades.

In a video posted to his Twitter account on Thursday, Puigdemont said he informed the president of the parliament of Catalonia “to start as quickly as possible the round of contacts with the different parliamentary groups to proceed with the election of a new candidate to be invested as president of the regional government.”

Puigdemont said his decision “does not fully guarantee the restoration of our autonomy ... But it will give us the freedom to undertake the next phase of the road towards independence” from Spain.

Puigdemont said his party would propose a pro-secession campaigner, Jordi Sanchez—currently in remand in a Madrid prison on charges of sedition—as an alternative candidate, Reuters reported.

The nomination of Sanchez is likely to be just as fraught with difficulty, given that he is in detention, according to Reuters.

Puigdemont has lived in self-imposed exile in Belgium since October last year and has fought a war of words with Madrid from afar. But Madrid, which has maintained it has the law on its side, has waited out the crisis, refusing to allow Puigdemont to rule from abroad.


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