Arrimadas will not meet Puigdemont in Belgium, says party
Cs clarifies leader's intention to travel to Waterloo and tell former president ‘the republic doesn’t exist’
It left more questions than answers, but the Ciutadans (Cs) party confirmed on Friday that its leader, Inés Arrimadas, would not meet with former president Carles Puigdemont in Belgium after she tweeted her intention "to remind Puigdemont that the republic doesn’t exist."
The head of the opposition announced her trip to Belgium on Sunday on Twitter: "As Catalonia’s main party we defend all Catalans that are not for independence; we do it in parliament, in institutions, in the streets. This Sunday, we’ll also do it in Waterloo," she said.
However on Friday morning, sources in the Cs party insisted that Arrimadas will indeed be in Belgium, where Puigdemont now lives in exile, but that she has no intention of meeting with the former president while she is there.
"As Catalonia’s main party we defend all Catalans that are not for independence; we do it in parliament, in institutions, in the streets. This Sunday, we’ll also do it in Waterloo"
Inés Arrimadas · Ciutadans leader
Puigdemont had responded to Arrimadas' original announcement in which she said would go to Waterloo to "tell him that he’s not the president of anything, just a runaway," saying that he was willing to hold a "cordial meeting" with the Cs leader.
Minutes after it emerged on Friday that Arrimadas would not in fact meet with Puigdemont face-to-face, the former president asked on Twitter: "How does she want to talk to me, by telepathy, by megaphone?"
Arrimadas is the most prominent detractor of the independence movement in Catalonia, and a fierce critic of Puigdemont and his successor as president, Quim Torra, who has said that Puigdemont is the "legitimate president of Catalonia."
Puigdemont left Catalonia in October 2017, after being sacked by Spain’s government following a declaration of independence. Now based in Waterloo, Puigdemont is the president of the Council for the Republic, a private organization that advocates Catalan independence.
Reactions to Waterloo trip
Catalan Parliament speaker, Roger Torrent, reacted to the announcements about the Cs leader's trip to Belgium, saying: "We would like Arrimadas to not only come to Waterloo, but also to knock on the door, enter, and sit with Puigdemont."
As for Spanish government spokeswoman, Isabel Celáa, she advised against the visit, saying: "Now that the Supreme Court is at work, it's not sensible to announce a trip to Waterloo to insist on a confrontational approach that benefits the extremes."
Arrimadas to go into Spanish politics?
As for Arrimadas, she may not continue as the Cs head in the Catalan Parliament for very much longer, with growing speculation that she is about to make the leap into Spanish politics as a candidate for the party in the upcoming general election on April 28.
With the party's spokesman in the Spanish Congress, Juan Carlos Girauta, standing in Toledo in the upcoming election, Arrimadas could head the Cs list for Barcelona, or stand as the number two candidate behind party leader in Spain, Albert Rivera.