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Direct rule will continue if Puigdemont does not turn up, Rajoy says

"Be a democrat and respect the Catalan Parliament decision to reinstate the government", replies Puigdemont

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15 January 2018 01:24 PM

by

ACN | Madrid

Suspension of Catalan self-government will continue if Puigdemont does not appear in Parliament to be reinstated as Catalan president and tries to be reelected from Brussels. This is what Mariano Rajoy claimed this Monday morning during a party officials meeting. The Spanish leader said that the measures that his government implemented, following the declaration of independence “will continue to be in force until a new president takes office after the elections.” And Rajoy said that swearing anyone in by proxy is “impossible.” According to him, “taking office from Brussels” is not viable.

The pro-independence parties kept the majority in the Catalan Parliament after the December 21 elections. Puigdemont was the top candidate for the Together for Catalonia (JxCat) ticket, which came first in the bloc of parties supporting a Catalan state. His candidacy and the other major pro-independence party, Esquerra Republicana (ERC), agreed to try to swear him in. Yet, he remains in Brussels and intends to be appointed from there, via video or through an MP representing him.

Puigdemont didn't waste time in answering Rajoy's comments. "He got 4 seats in the December 21 election. He should be a democrat and respect the Catalan Parliament's decision to reinstate the government," the leader of JxCat tweeted.

  • "Rajoy got 4 seats on the December 21 election. He should be a democrat and respect the Catalan Parliament decision to reinstate the government"
    Carles Puigdemont · Leader of JxCat

Puigdemont defends that he wants to return to Catalonia with “guarantees,” that is, without risking being held in custody after setting foot in the country. However, the Spanish Supreme Court still holds an arrest warrant for him and four of his deposed ministers in Brussels, so arrest and jail time are the most likely outcomes if they return. It still unclear whether Puigdemont will be allowed to be sworn in from the Belgian capital. The debate to pick a president is to be held in the Catalan chamber by the end of the month. 

Mariano Rajoy’s vice president, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, also claimed on Monday that appointing a Catalan president at a distance is “impossible and illegal.” She added that “Mr. Puigdemont has already broken the law and what he intends to do is as illegal as what he has been doing until now.” She also urged the deposed Catalan president to admit that he has "reached the end of the road.”

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  • Catalan president Carles Puigdemont (left) and Spanish president Mariano Rajoy (by EFE/Pool)

  • Mariano Rajoy on December 22 2017 (by Tania Tapia)

  • Catalan president Carles Puigdemont (left) and Spanish president Mariano Rajoy (by EFE/Pool)
  • Mariano Rajoy on December 22 2017 (by Tania Tapia)