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Leaked document posits new formula for Puigdemont taking office from Brussels

Political parties react to proposal for swearing in president remotely as head of ‘Council of the Republic’



07 February 2018 07:03 PM


ACN | Barcelona

As the pro-independence parties continue to explore how to go about choosing a new president, the left-wing CUP party has sent a proposal to its membership unveiling Puigdemont's Junts per Catalunya's (JxCat) plans for the deposed president to be sworn in as head of a ‘Council of the Republic’, in Brussels, on February 18.

What’s more, according to the internal document, JxCat foresees another swearing-in session in parliament on February 21 or 22, in which Puigdemont would be confirmed as the head of the Catalan government remotely. Before that, an amendment to the Catalan Presidency bill would be required.

However, the media reports also suggest that JxCat opens the door to a different candidate from the same candidacy taking office should it prove impossible to swear in Puigdemont. CUP sources confirmed that the leaked document had been passed to its members, but refused to comment on any proposal that had not been formally agreed with the other two pro-independence parties, JxCat and ERC.

CUP open to alternative candidate

Also on Wednesday, a CUP spokeswoman said the party would be open to an alternative candidate from Puigdemont’s JxCat candidacy, and she did not rule out another election should no agreement to appoint a new president be reached. In an interview, the spokeswoman said that reinstating Puigdemont as president was important because he has “complete legitimacy,” but rejected the idea that the push for independence is about one person. It is the first time that CUP has publicly talked about an alternative candidate to Puigdemont.

Doubts on amending law

Meanwhile, the other pro-independence party, ERC, expressed its doubts about JxCat’s idea of amending the presidency law to allow Puigdemont to take office as president. Sources in the party say that the most important thing is that the formula for swearing in a new president be effective, and that the idea of amending the law is not viable given that Spain’s Constitutional Court would no doubt declare any such amendment illegal.

In fact, an ERC spokesman on Wednesday denied that an agreement on swearing in a new president was imminent, as a JxCat spokeswoman had suggested earlier in the day in a television interview. “We are prioritizing the agreement and not the date. We do not think it will be tomorrow and maybe it will be later,” he said. Nevertheless, the ERC spokesman did say that the talks between the pro-independence parties were going well and that all three parties were “tirelessly working to reach agreement as soon as possible.”

“Puigdemont can go to Eurodisney” says opposition

However, the main unionist parties continued to reject any plans for Puigdemont to be reinstated as president from Brussels. “If Puigdemont wants to go to Brussels or Eurodisney with his people and for them to call him president, prince or king, that’s fine. But in the real world the president will be sworn in in the Catalan Parliament and according to the law,” said Inés Arrimadas, the leader of the main opposition party, Ciutadans (Cs).

As for the Catalan branch of Spain’s ruling People’s Party, its leader called the proposals for swearing in Puigdemont via an assembly of elected officials “anti-democratic.” In fact the PPC leader called on the Catalan parliament speaker to withdraw Puigdemont as candidate for president, as the “Catalan institutions must remain above individualism and buffoonery.”