Traditional candidate portrait made impossible by prison and exile
Photos are usually published on front page of newspapers, but with Puigdemont in Belgium and Junqueras in prison, plans have changed
The December 21 Catalan elections have proven themselves unusual in many ways, and today is no exception. Election silence day, immediately before the voting, is traditionally when the presidential candidates are photographed for official portraits. Usually, the collection of photos is taken and then published on the front page of newspapers, in a way officially marking the end of the campaign. Yet, with Oriol Junqueras held in pre-emptive detention in the Estremera prison in the Madrid region, and Carles Puigdemont currently in exile in Belgium, the portraits will not be possible.
Instead, some presidential hopefuls are taking advantage of this first day of rest in more than two weeks of nonstop campaigning to relax, spend time with their families, and even—at least, in the case of PSC candidate Miquel Iceta, PP candidate Xavier García Albiol, and Catalonia in Common candidate Xavier Domènech—to go see the new installment of the Star Wars saga. In all, for many, this will be a welcome break from the push of the last fifteen days.
This intense stint of campaigning, indeed, even left some candidates—such as Cs leader Inés Arrimadas—without their voice. Indeed, Arrimadas has divulged she plans to spend this day with her family, that she feels she has “abandoned” during the campaign, and also to recover from the cold she recently caught. Other candidates still, such as the number one on the ticket for CUP, Carles Riera, are dealing with a more serious case of peritonitis and will spend the rest of the day cooking and reading.
The leader for Together for Catalonia and deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont will have a “very domestic and very reflective” day of electoral silence, without doing “anything special” in Brussels, ultimately deciding against traveling back home right before the elections. While Puigdemont remains in “exile,” the head of the Esquerra Republicana ticket, Oriol Junqueras, will spend another day in prison, following his usual daily routine. Junqueras starts his day waking up at 8 am, breakfast and time in the courtyard, then pastimes like chess or basketball, after which he has lunch, then is sent back to his cell, then again activities before dinner and then lockup at 7:25pm.