JxCat spokeswoman reemerges as potential presidential candidate
While pro-independence ally would welcome an Elsa Artadi bid, unionists stress need for a “viable” nominee
Could the next presidential candidate nominated by the pro-independence camp in the Catalan parliament be JxCat spokeswoman, Elsa Artadi? After four failed attempts to swear in a new president, and with the May 22 deadline to do so fast approaching, Artadi has once more emerged as a potential candidate. On Wednesday, twice former candidate and jailed MP for JxCat, Jordi Sànchez, said in a written interview with the Catalan News Agency that he would support an Artadi bid.
JxCat’s main pro-independence ally, ERC, responded favorably to the suggestion, with a party representative declaring that an Artadi candidacy “would not be a problem.” During a radio interview, the ERC MP said he expected JxCat to name a new candidate following a meeting planned in Berlin on Saturday with the party’s exiled leader, Carles Puigdemont. A parliamentary session to swear in a president could than take place “in a matter of days,” he predicted.
After Spanish courts blocked four previous attempts to swear in three candidates because they were either jailed, involved in legal proceedings or in exile, it is not the first time that Artadi’s name has come up as a possible presidential candidate. A close ally of Puigdemont, the JxCat spokeswoman also has experience in government and, above all, has no criminal charges against her, unlike a great many of the other pro-independence politicians.
“Find a viable candidate,” urges socialists
Also in reaction to Sànchez’s comments, while the unionist PSC socialist party did not mention Artadi by name, it urged the pro-independence camp to “find a viable candidate.” A spokeswoman accused the pro-independence parties of “playing a joke” on the Catalan public, and said that “an effective investiture” is vital. The spokeswoman also condemned JxCat for “speculating, taking trips and passing unconstitutional laws when the public needs a government.”
Meanwhile, when asked about Artadi’s suitability as a presidential candidate, the Spanish government delegate to Catalonia said: “I have nothing to say.” The Spanish executive has objected to all the candidates so far put forward by JxCat, as the most voted pro-independence party. “The only essential thing is that the candidate fulfills all the legal requisites, in other words, that they be physically present in the Catalan chamber and have no criminal proceedings against them,” he said. Artadi could well fulfil these conditions.