Constitutional Court deems swearing Catalan president in at a distance illegal
Governing party has been seeking to reinstate exiled Carles Puigdemont as head of government
The Spanish Constitutional Court deemed swearing in a Catalan president at a distance as illegal on Thursday.
The judges decided to rule most of a Catalan law allowing such circumstance as unconstitutional. Government sessions by proxy were also ruled out by Spain's highest court.
The candidate for president "has to attend in person before the chamber," stated the judges in their ruling.
Puigdemont's efforts to be reinstated from Belgium
The parliament's efforts to swear in an MP without his or her attending the chamber are mostly due to governing Junts per Catalunya's intentions to reinstate exiled former president Carles Puigdemont.
Indeed the current head of government, Quim Torra, has repeatedly said since being sworn in in May 2018 that one of his top aims is to be replaced by Puigdemont in the post.
The ousted president, now in exile in Belgium, tried to be sworn in on January 30, 2018, by proxy. A session to elect him had been called for that day, but the Constitutional Court also prevented it and subsequently, the chamber speaker, Roger Torrent, called off the meeting.
Some extra checks in trunks of vehicles crossing the border and also near the site of the parliament were held in the run-up to January 30, reportedly to make sure Puigdemont was not secretly crossing the border.
He has an arrest warrant in Spain, so if found in the country he would likely be detained and sent to precautionary jail –like some members of his former cabinet– for his role in the 2017 independence bid.