President Torra to visit jailed politicians on Monday
Newly elected Catalan leader has pledged he will offer to reinstate sacked Catalan ministers
The Catalan president, Quim Torrra, will visit the nine pro-independence politicians and activists being held in jail on Monday. Torra intended to visit them on Friday, just a day after formally taking office, but the Spanish interior ministry asked him to delay his visit for organizational and logistical reasons. Torra accepted and now hopes to meet the incarcerated leaders after the weekend, including the deposed Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras, some ministers of the Puigdemont cabinet, and the former Catalan Parliament president.
New government, next week?
These visits could be significant, as on Tuesday, Torra pledged that he would offer to reinstate all ministers dismissed by the Spanish government, both those in jail and those abroad. As he will not now be able to personally offer the jailed officials their posts until Monday, the process of forming a new government is likely to drag on into early next week. Direct rule of Catalonia from Madrid will only be lifted once a new executive is in place, insists the Spanish government.
Yet the appointment of new ministers could lead to yet another clash of wills between Catalonia and Spain if the officials in prison are nominated. On Monday, the Spanish government delegate in Catalonia, Enric Millo, commented on this possibility. “People who are held in custody or who have fled the Spanish judiciary obviously cannot be ministers, even if they are appointed,” he said.
“They could not be present, they would not be able to attend their direction committee meetings, they would not be present at events, to sign documents or to sort out everyday issues.” According to Millo, reinstating them would be “nonsense.” Yet he also said that he was “unaware” of whether it is legal for them to take office from prison or abroad.