Fugitive former leader cannot rule Catalonia from abroad says Madrid




  • In World
  • 2018-01-12 15:56:03Z
  • By By Sonya Dowsett

By Sonya Dowsett

MADRID (Reuters) - The Spanish government dismissed outright on Friday the possibility of former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont ruling the region from self-imposed exile in Brussels, and said Madrid would contest any attempt to do so in the courts.

Catalan separatists agreed on Wednesday to try to re-elect Puigdemont as regional leader, raising the scenario of the fugitive former leader governing by video link from Belgium. He faces arrest in Spain for sedition and rebellion.

"Parliamentary rules are very clear," said Spanish government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo at a weekly press conference. "They do not contemplate the possibility of a (parliamentary) presence that is not in person."

"This aspiration is a fallacy, it's totally unrealistic and it goes against the rule books and common sense," he added.

Puigdemont spearheaded a movement last year for the wealthy northeastern region of Catalonia to split from Spain, culminating in Madrid sacking his administration and imposing direct rule. He moved to Brussels shortly afterwards.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy held local elections in December to resolve the crisis, which has led to thousands of companies to move their registered headquarters to outside the region.

But the results of the vote delivered a slim majority to separatists, heightening the possibility of a renewed push for secession from Spain this year.

Government lawyers have analysed Catalan parliamentary law and have concluded that any regional presidential candidate must appear in person in order to be voted in, Cadena Ser radio said on Thursday, citing a government legal report.

The regional parliament will sit for the first time on Wednesday to choose the parliamentary speaker. A new regional leader could be elected by parliament as soon as Jan. 31.

However, five members of the Catalan parliament, including Puigdemont, are in self-imposed exile in Brussels and three are serving custodial sentences in Madrid for their role in organizing an illegal referendum on independence from Spain.

Another possible candidate for regional president is Puigdemont's former deputy Oriol Junqueras, one of those in custody. However, a judge on Friday rejected his request to be transferred to a Catalan jail to be able to attend parliamentary sessions.

Under Spanish law, both Puigdemont and Junqueras could resign and pass their seat to another politician who could attend parliament or stand for president in their place.

(Editing by Julien Toyer and Jon Boyle)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Brexit: the Irish backstop issue explained
Brexit: the Irish backstop issue explained

Keeping the Irish border free-flowing has proved to be the toughest issue to resolve in negotiating Britain's exit from the European Union. The Brexit deal between London and Brussels -- overwhelmingly rejected last week by British MPs -- contains a so-called backstop provision ensuring that if all else fails, the border will remain open. The boundary on the island of Ireland between Northern Ireland -- part of the United Kingdom -- and the Republic of Ireland is currently invisible.

Ronaldo to plead guilty to tax fraud in Madrid court
Ronaldo to plead guilty to tax fraud in Madrid court

Cristiano Ronaldo will make an unwanted trip back to Madrid on Tuesday and is expected to plead guilty to tax fraud. Ronaldo will be in the Spanish capital on tax charges related to his time at Real Madrid. The Juventus forward is expected to appear before a judge and receive a suspended two-year sentence as part of a deal struck with Spain's state prosecutor and tax authorities last year.

What next for Brexit? Four main scenarios
What next for Brexit? Four main scenarios

British Prime Minister Theresa May presents her new approach to Brexit on Monday, following MPs' crushing rejection of the divorce deal agreed with the EU. Amendments could seek to halt the Article 50 departure process -- the two-year clock set ticking when Britain handed in its notice on March 29, 2017. Brussels may not be so keen if the delay just means more months of political gridlock.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: World

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.