“I offer dialogue and threats are the response,” says Parliament president
Roger Torrent confirms Puigdemont is still candidate for president in upcoming debate despite Madrid’s appeal
The Catalan Parliament president, Roger Torrent, reaffirmed that Carles Puigdemont is still the candidate for president in the upcoming investiture debate. In a statement on Friday afternoon, he made clear that his nomination of Puigdemont still stands despite Madrid’s challenge. “It is a legal fraud directly against voters, MPs and democracy,” was Torrent’s reaction to the Spanish government’s appeal of his nomination in the Constitutional Court. He announced that the Catalan chamber’s legal service will analyse the move.
Earlier in the day, the Spanish vice president, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, confirmed that the Spanish government is challenging Puigdemont’s candidacy for president in the Constitutional Court, so as to “prevent a fugitive from being sworn in as president” of Catalonia. According to the Spanish vice president, the fact that Puigdemont has an arrest warrant against him on Spanish soil “impedes him from being president.”
“It is a legal fraud directly against voters, MPs and democracy”
Roger Torrent · Catalan Parliament president
"A person with an arrest warrant against cannot be a candidate," says Rajoy's vice president
Yet, the Spanish executive’s decision runs counter to the Advisory Council of State’s rejection of the move on Thursday evening. Yet, arguing that “our obligation is defending legality and democracy,” Sáenz de Santamaría said “the [Spanish] government has enough arguments” to challenge the candidacy despite the Advisory Council’s decision. “We understand that a person with an arrest warrant against them cannot be a candidate for president without fulfilling their obligations beforehand,” she told the press after the cabinet’s weekly meeting.
How might Puigdemont take office?
Despite the legal challenge to Puigdemont’s candidacy, Torrent insisted that it “fulfils all the legal requisites and has absolute legitimacy” and he reiterated that “the plenary session is scheduled for January 30 at three in the afternoon.” In fact, the controversy over the legal challenge overshadowed the differences between the two main pro-independence parties over the date for the investiture debate. Puigdemont’s Together for Catalonia candidacy had wanted the debate to take place on the last possible day, January 31, while Esquerra had argued for January 30. Nor has there been any more information on how Puigdemont might take office if he is still in Brussels.