Carles Puigdemont to return to Catalonia for swearing-in even if not elected president

Former Catalan president, who has been living in exile since 2017, is Junts per Catalunya's candidate for May 12 vote

Carles Puigdemont campaigning in Elna, France, on April 6
Carles Puigdemont campaigning in Elna, France, on April 6 / Nico Tomás
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

April 9, 2024 09:55 AM

April 9, 2024 05:31 PM

Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who has been living in exile since 2017, will return to Catalonia for the swearing-in ceremony after the Catalan elections on May 12, even if he is not elected president.

"I will return to Catalonia for the swearing-in ceremony. It is an action for the country, not partisan, outside the electoral context and with institutional spirit," he said in an interview with RAC1 radio.

Puigdemont, who will be Junts per Catalunya's candidate in the May 12 vote, said that even if the amnesty law comes into effect before the election and his detention order is lifted, he will not return during the campaign.

"We have been working on my return for years, and it cannot be an electoral strategy, or a provocation, or a mockery," he said, adding that with his return, "the repression of the Spanish state ends."


"The amnesty law [for pro-indy related figures] is a necessary but insufficient way of closing a political conflict and, therefore, a period of exile. I believe that for the Catalan government who went into exile, to recover its dignity, it should return to parliament no matter what, as it is important to respect the will of Catalans," he added.

After living in Belgium for more than six years since the height of the independence crisis, Puigdemont announced last week that he had moved to northern Catalonia, the historically Catalan strip north of the Pyrenees in what is now France.

The Junts leader intends to do much of the campaigning in person, rather than remotely as in previous elections.

On Monday, Junts asked the public broadcaster TV3 to hold the electoral debate in Perpignan, France, so that Puigdemont could attend in person. 

Although the proposal is unlikely to succeed, Catalan president Pere Aragonès last week offered Puigdemont a separate face-to-face debate with Socialist candidate Salvador Illa "outside Catalonia."

Both Puigdemont and Illa rejected the offer. "We do not need a face-to-face debate, we need to work hand in hand," Puigdemont said.