Science

Catalonian separatists to reelect Puigdemont as leader

Catalonian separatists to reelect Puigdemont as leader”

However, the anti-independence party that won most votes in a December 21 regional election poured scorn on the plan as Puigdemont remains in self-imposed exile in Brussels and it said he would be a "hologram president".

Mr Puigdemont, of the platform Junts Per Catalunya, and Martina Rovira of the Republican Left (ERC) hammered out the agreement at a dinner on Tuesday night in the Belgian capital, where he fled in November to avoid arrest on sedition and rebellion charges.

The result was a setback for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain, who had called the election in the hope that voters would deliver a decisive blow to the secessionist movement.

Speaking to reporters in Barcelona, staunchly pro- independence Carme Forcadell said she would not stay in the post despite having been offered to do so after regional elections on December 21 that saw separatist parties retain their absolute parliamentary majority.

"This new stage requires new leaders, it is necessary to leave open spaces so that certain people can lead this project for the future", Mas told a news conference.

Forn was one of several regional ministers jailed on provisional charges of rebellion after the regional parliament unilaterally - and unsuccessfully - declared Catalonia an independent republic October 27.

Ines Arrimadas, the leader of Ciudadanos (Citizens), which favours unity with Spain, said a fugitive from justice could not be a leader in Catalonia.

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

Both parties have confirmed the deal but confusion remains about how the president will read his legally required installation speech to the Catalan Parliament on Wednesday without returning to Catalonia, where he is wanted by Spanish authorities. But a new president can form government with a simple majority in a second attempt.

Many of the Catalan political leaders were arrested on charges of sedition and rebellion after the independence declaration. Three are still behind bars pending a trial, while Puigdemont, with four of his cabinet members, fled to Brussels.

The other main potential candidate to represent the pro-independence parties would be ERC leader Oriol Junqueras, who is serving a custodial sentence in a Madrid jail.

Lawyers for ousted Catalan interior minister Joaquim Forn says they will ask the Spain Supreme Court to the politician from jail now that he has promised to act within the law.

"The desire to be free from Madrid is rising, it is in the majority and it is lasting over time, despite the huge difficulties it faces", he wrote in an editorial published on the Politico news website.



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