Puigdemont to Torra: 'I thank you for assuming the task in such extreme circumstances'
Catalan leader urges Spain to offer "dialogue" and says new "provisional" government will have duty to "restore" self-rule "repair damages" caused by Article 155
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont announced on Thursday that MP Quim Torra will be the next candidate for Catalan president, after Spain blocked four other candidates from being elected, including Puigdemont himself. In a video posted online, Puigdemont thanked Torra, an independent MP, for assuming the challenge to become the next Catalan president.
"I thank you for your effort, and for assuming the task in such extreme circumstances," Puigdemont said. The Catalan leader said the new government, led by Torra if elected, will have the duty to "govern" Catalonia and "defend its national rights before an authoritarian" Spain that "refuses to talk".
Puigdemont insisted that the priority should be to "restore" self-government and "repair" all the "harmful effects" of the Spanish intervention in Catalonia. According to him, Torra will have to protect the "systematically diminished" powers of Catalonia.
"We are starting a provisional period marked by the conditions imposed by Spain"
Carles Puigdemont · Deposed Catalan president
"Everyone gets that we are starting a provisional period marked by the conditions imposed by Spain. The fact that there are political prisoners, people in exile, as well as a permanent threat that Article 155 will continue, means that we cannot talk of a definitive period," Puigdemont stressed.
The Catalan leader said the creation of a new government should force Spain to "change its attitude". "There are no more excuses," insisted Puigdemont, urging Madrid to "recognize, respect, open dialogue and agree" on solutions with Catalonia.