Puigdemont: ‘Spain wants us on our knees, we won't give in’
Catalan leader says pro-independence forces will avoid new election, urges "patience" and opens door to "other candidate" for presidency
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said on Sunday that Spain wants a "government on its knees" in Catalonia and warned that pro-independence forces "won't give in."
In a televised interview from Berlin, Puigdemont insisted that there is still "time" to reach agreements to form a new government and avoid a new election in Catalonia, and he urged "patience."
Puigdemont said that the new government should reflect the results of the December 21 election, which saw pro-independence forces winning an overall majority and his party, Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), coming in as the biggest 'yes' group in the chamber. If parliament is not able to elect a new president before May 22, a new election will automatically be called.
JxCat has so far put forward three candidates for the presidency: Puigdemont himself, former jailed activist Jordi Sànchez, who has twice been denied permission to attend an investiture debate, and former minister Jordi Turull, who was jailed before he could attend the second round of his swearing-in vote.
"Are they saying all our 34 MPs are suspects or could potentially end up in jail? We must know!" Puigdemont asked while discussing the role of the Spanish judiciary in the process.
"We have time to find solutions that allow us to respect the people's mandate while, at the same time, avoiding new elections," Puigdemont said. The pro-independence leader said that they might need to "put forward another candidate" but he did not mention any names.
Puigdemont "provisionally" gave up his bid months ago, but his group is putting forward a legislative reform that could allow a president to be elected by proxy. "MPs are doing a good job. They're reforming the presidency law for a reason," he said.