Carles Puigdemont instated as the new Catalan President
Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) president and mayor of Girona city Carles Puigdemont has been instated as Catalan President number 130 by an absolute majority of the Parliament. Puigdemont, a member of cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ proposed by current Catalan President Artur Mas, obtained 70 votes in favour, 63 against and 2 abstentions. The investiture debate took place this Sunday after a last-minute agreement between pro-independence forces ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and CUP and just before all the legal deadlines were due to expire and new elections would have had to been called in Catalonia.
Barcelona (CNA).- Catalonia has instated Carles Puigdemont as President number 130. The Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) president and mayor of Girona city was proposed by current Catalan President Artur Mas as he decided to step aside to facilitate the agreement between the pro-independence forces, cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and radical left CUP. Puigdemont obtained the absolute majority of the Parliament and stated that he is committed to launching the pro-independence roadmap and obeying the democratic mandate of the 27-S Catalan Elections. All 62 MPs from ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and 8 of CUP’s 10 MPs supported Puigdemont’s candidature, 2 of CUP’s MPs decided to abstain and anti-Catalan nationalism party Ciutadans, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), alternative left coalition ‘Catalunya Sí que es Pot’ and the Catalan People’s Party (PPC) voted against it. The investiture debate took place this Sunday, just before all the legal deadlines were due to expire and new elections would have had to been called in Catalonia.
Puigdemont: The pro-independence roadmap remains “unalterable”
The candidate to run for Catalan President insisted on his commitment to the roadmap towards independence and called on all parties to “start working in light of the [pro-independence] declaration approved by the Parliament on the 9th of November”.
“Our duty is to comply with the democratic mandate of the Parliament, because it was approved, because it is this Parliament’s will, the citizens’ will” stated Puigdemont. The candidate to run for Catalan President bids to “start negotiations with the Spanish State, with Europe and with the international community” for the declaration “to achieve recognition”. In this sense, he emphasised that Mas would be an asset on which he would count. “These are not times for cowards nor for giving up in favour of comfort”
Puigdemont also named the priorities of his government, which are a fairer country with more job opportunities and which is more transparent.
Ciutadans: Puigdemont represents “the same old story”
Anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans, the main party in the opposition, described Puigdemont as “the same old story” as Artur Mas. The head of the opposition, Inés Arrimadas, accused Puigdemont of being neither “moderate” nor “respectful” enough to represent all Catalans. She also stated that the candidate to run for President was elected “by thumbing” and accused him of “using the institutions as a tool” and “squandering” public funds for pro-independence purposes.
Arrimadas also addressed Mas and attributed to him the “doubtful honour of breaking”, accusing him of breaking former governing coalition CiU, current governing party liberal CDC “and even radical left CUP”. She emphasised Mas’ “will to divide Catalan society” and accused him and the pro-independence forces of trying “to set a quarantine line” between those parties supporting Catalonia’s independence and those who don’t.
PSC will “firmly oppose” any attempt to break the law
The Catalan Socialist Party’s leader, Miquel Iceta, urged the next Catalan President to govern for all Catalans and avoid creating a divide “between good, the pro-independence forces and bad, all the others”. Iceta emphasised that he will “firmly oppose” any attempt to break the law, referring to launching the pro-independence declaration. According to PSC’s leader, cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and radical left CUP have a majority to rule “but not to pursue an express independence and even less to do so by ignoring the law”.
Catalunya Sí que es Pot: The unilateral breakaway is “a swindle”
Alternative left ‘Catalunya Sí que es Pot’ (‘Catalonia Yes we Can’) considers Catalonia’s unilateral independence “a swindle” and a “boast”. According to ‘Catalunya Sí que es Pot’s leader, Lluís Rabell, the agreement between ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and CUP aims to “relaunch a party which is in free fall” he stated, referring to current governing party liberal CDC. He also accused Mas of being “afraid of the ballot box” considering that he accepted to step aside in order to avoid calling for new elections and obtaining a poor result.
PPC to guarantee that Catalonia continues to be in Spain
“Not you nor anybody will start any breaking process with the rest of Spain” stated the Catalan People’s Party’s leader Xavier García Albiol, addressing Puigdemont. “I’m telling you this while looking you in the eye” he added. Albiol also pointed to Artur Mas “as the great guilty” of the current situation and urged PSC to “leave their differences aside” and facilitate current Spanish President Mariano Rajoy’s investiture in order to fight the new government’s pro-independence proposals .
CUP calls for enhancing the pro-independence process
Radical left CUP MP Anna Gabriel nuanced that the party won’t disappear nor be dissolved in ‘Junts Pel Sí’. “We make a gesture of trust” she stated “because we believe that we have agreed on setting the basis to build the new Catalan republic”. Gabriel explained the abstention of two of CUP’s MPs and attributed it to the “healthy and necessary difference” that defines the anti-capitalism party. Gabriel referred to the “huge responsibility” ahead of Puigdemont and urged him to enhance the basis of the pro-independence process “even more” and make it “more plural and transversal”.
Rajoy insists on Spain’s unity and the power of the court
Current Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned that he won’t allow “a single action which would contravene Spain’s unity and sovereignty, which would go against the law and against the courts’ decisions”. During his intervention to comment on the new Catalan President’s investiture, he assured that the pro-independence proposal approved by the Parliament on the 9th of November “doesn’t exist” since the Spanish Constitutional Court has annulled it. Following this, he reminded the members of the Catalan chamber that the Spanish State “always works” and that it will continue to firmly defend “Spain’s unity and the democratic coexistence of our common project”.