Puigdemont warns of “threat” against his reinstatement as president
The Together for Catalona leader says he wishes to return “with guarantees and all legitimacy” but “now it is not possible”
The leader of Together for Catalonia (JxCat), Carles Puigdemont, said on Tuesday that "now it is not possible" to return to the country because there is a "threat" to "prevent" his investiture as president.
Via videoconference from Montpellier, France, Puigdemont said that he wants "to return with guarantees and all legitimacy to Catalonia as a president elected by a parliament that is the direct result of the will of the citizens." However, he stated that this is now impossible. It is very likely that if he does return to Catalonia, he will be arrested and imprisoned.
“It is not possible because there is a threat preventing me from becoming the president,” he said. “Will we accept this situation in 21st century Europe?”
The vice-president Oriol Junqueras and other pro-independence leaders have been behind bars under preventive detention for more than two months now. They are accused of rebellion and sedition, charges that carry up to 30 years in jail.
He called on the Spanish president, Mariano Rajoy, to “respect” the results of the December 21 election, in which pro-independence parties won a majority in the Catalan parliament with 70 seats. Puigdemont's candidacy, JxCat, got the most amount of seats out of the pro-independence parties with 34.
His party is considering instating him as president remotely, out of fear of him being arrested, with some sources suggesting that he return to the country after he is invested.
“It is easy to fix the situation,” Puigdemont said, by “accepting the result of the ballot boxes,” and opening “a political dialogue.”
He went on to question “where is democracy exactly,” if the message sent to Europe “is that the results of the elections do not matter,” and Spain continues “to apply the suspension of autonomy, the intervention of the economy, and can de facto prevent the results,” as well as continuing to hold pro-independence leaders “in prison”.