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Puigdemont’s bid for president not viable, says Esquerra’s jailed leader

From prison, Oriol Junqueras claims that “the priority is to form a government”

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12 February 2018 04:11 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Spain will not let Carles Puigdemont to be president again. This is what the deposed Catalan vice president and the leader of Esquerra (ERC), Oriol Junqueras, said from prison in an interview to a Spanish private TV. “Spain would never allow for Puigdemont’s presidency to be effective, this is the problem,” he responded in writing from jail. Pro-independence parties are currently working to reinstate Puigdemont, the leader of the Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) candidacy. However, the Spanish government is challenging his bid, and the Constitutional Court is yet to decide on his nomination as candidate for the post.

Junqueras does not rule out himself being the new president, instead, even while incarcerated, but he thinks the top priority for the country is to form a new government. “As far as I know, I have not lost my rights, so I’m sure that I’m a valid candidate, but this is not for me to decide,” wrote Junqueras. “The priority is to form a government, I have always been ready for any sacrifice needed for a common benefit.” Madrid has pledged that a new Catalan executive will lead to the end of the suspension of self-rule, but an MP needs to be appointed as president beforehand.  

The vice president to Puigdemont’s last cabinet has been held in custody for more than 100 days now. Regards his situation of imprisonment, he has little hope of being freed anytime soon. He also expressed that the judge’s last decrees were “political and leave little room for a juridical defense.” The Spanish Supreme Court has been acting with skepticism regards the jailed pro-independence leaders accepting Madrid’s measures against Catalonia’s self-rule. Yet, Junqueras argues in the letter that the acceptance of Article 155 by Catalan leaders is obvious. “All of us accepted taking part in an election held under this measure, and no one remained in the Catalan government after being removed,” he said.

  • “Spain would never allow for Puigdemont’s presidency to be effective, this is the problem”

    Oriol Junqueras · ERC leader

“Fratricide wars”

On Monday, the parties in favor of a Catalan state continued their negotiations over who should be the next president. Yet Catalunya en Comú-Podem (CatECP), in between the pro-independence and unionist blocs, criticized that ERC and JxCat are keeping the country “ seating on pins and needles because of their fratricide wars.” CatECP’s priority is forming a government to “stop” the Spanish government’s “attacks.” One of its officials said that the two left-wing pro-independence parties, ERC and the CUP, should find an alternative to Puigdemont.

Political “paralysis”

While the Spanish Constitutional Court decides on Puigdemont’s bid and as pro-independence parties hold talks, the Catalan Parliament president is not calling a new investiture debate, after the first one’s postponement. The Socialists (PSC) sent him a letter on Monday urging him to hold a new round of talks with all parties in order to end the political “paralysis” in the country. The PSC party also claims that Puigdemont cannot be reinstated, because he did not turn up to a hearing in the Spanish National Court on November 2 –despite his request to be allowed to testify via video.

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  • Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras (by ACN)

  • Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras (by ACN)

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