Madrid ‘in no way’ to allow Puigdemont’s symbolic presidency
Spanish government spokesman says direct rule of Catalonia will continue “as long as it is necessary”
The Spanish government will “in no way” allow Carles Puigdemont to be sworn in as Catalan president, even if it is symbolic. That is according to the Rajoy government spokesman, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, in an interview with the Spanish public radio broadcaster. “Symbolic investitures do not exist, it might aim to provide someone who is accused of serious offences and has escaped justice with a salary,” he noted. For Méndez de Vigo, as far as Puigdemont is concerned, “there must be no consideration for him”.
The government spokesman also referred to Junts per Catalunya’s attempt to amend the Presidency Bill in order to swear in Puigdemont. Méndez De Vigo stated that if this happens, the Spanish government will file an appeal against the amendment in the Spanish Constitutional Court, as it considers the move to be “illegal.” “It would be a mistake to pass it,” he added. At the same time, the Spanish justice minister, Rafael Catalá, also ruled out a symbolic investiture as “absolutely impossible.”
Direct rule for “as long as it is necessary”
The Spanish government spokesman also stated that the suspension of Catalonia’s self-rule will continue “as long as it is necessary,” and he claimed that “Article 155 has brought stability to Catalonia and respect for the constitutional and autonomous order.” “Unless there is a Catalan government that acts within the law and the constitutional order, Article 155 will continue being applied,” stressed Méndez de Vigo.
“Unless there is a Catalan government that acts within the law and the constitutional order, Article 155 will continue being applied”
Íñigo Méndez de Vigo · Spanish government spokesman
Article 155, “the sooner it ends the better”
Yet other voices in Spain’s ruling party call for Madrid’s direct rule to end as soon as possible. “The sooner it ends the better,” stated the Spanish government delegate in Catalonia, Enric Millo. Still, he insisted that the Spanish government will “guarantee” that what is done in Catalonia complies with law.
Millo also claimed that the only way to end the stalemate is by “presenting another candidate” for president besides Puigdemont. “If Puigdemont does not fulfil the legal requirements to be sworn in, he will not be allowed to be the next president,” said Millo.
In relation to the use of violence by the Spanish police in order to prevent the October 1 referendum from being held, the Spanish government delegate in Catalonia said that police officers “complied with a court order and acted in the best way they could.” “They acted as they acted, it was not in my hands,” he said.