By Tien Phan
After roughly a week waiting for information regarding his arrest status from court, Carles Puigdemont, the president of Catalonia, before the most recent secession vote, is possibly making an attempt to regain public office after his self-imposed exile to Belgium last October, according to
This is considered a risky move by the ex-leader of Catalonia, because he is allegedly facing an arrest warrant from the Spanish government for rebellious and sedition due to the push for Catalonia’s independence.
On October 27, 2017, the regional parliament of Catalonia, made up of mostly separatists leaders, declared independence from Spain by voting to leave, BBC reported. Despite the vote that occurred having the potential to turn the control of the region to Catalonia, the Spanish government deemed the referendum illegitimate. Specifically, Madrid rejected the result of the vote by triggering Section 155 in the Spain Constitution. This section allows the federal government in Spain to seize the power of the local governing body. Spain’s Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, acknowledging this, dissolved the Catalonian government, and began accusing Catalonian public officials of rebellion.
Carles Puigdemont recognized that if he stayed in Catalonia any longer, he would be arrested similarly to the rest of his cabinet members. In turn, right after the Spanish government deemed the referendum illegal, the former President of Catalonia fled to Brussels, Belgium, according to Reuters. The central government had since then urged its supreme court to order an international arrest for Puigdemont. However, afraid that the Danish government would grant Puigdemont asylum, Madrid withdrew the arrest warrant in December.
The Guardian also reports that after the incident, the Spanish government held a snap regional election in Catalonia hoping that its result would favor the unity side of the political spectrum. Unfortunately, the turnout was, in Puigdemont’s words, “a slap to the face” to Rajoy. Out of the 135 seats in the regional parliament, three of the separatist parties won a total of 70 seats, which is a large majority in the parliament.
Roger Torrent, the newly elected speaker of the Catalonian parliament, proposed to have Carles Puigdemont as the front candidate for a president seat in the Parliament. Because of this, Puigdemont was looking for a way to return to Catalonia without arrest as soon as he landed on Spanish soil.
According to the Guardian, a proposal for an investiture debate via video was dismissed by the court because judges ruled that Puigdemont needed to actually appear in person with “prior judicial authorization.” Prime Minister Rajoy commented on this, saying, “it’s absurd that someone may intend to be a candidate to be the head of the regional government while being in Brussels and running away from justice.”
This is, hopefully, a step toward a peaceful conversation between the two sides. Even though there are still matters that are in need of compromise, it seems possible that Spanish politics will become more stable after these controversies.