Investiture debate expected to be held next Tuesday

Parliament president to meet Carles Puigdemont and Catalan ministers in Brussels today

MPs during the opening session of the Catalan Parliament (by Elisenda Rosanas)
MPs during the opening session of the Catalan Parliament (by Elisenda Rosanas) / ACN

ACN | Brussels

January 24, 2018 10:49 AM

The investiture debate to pick a Catalan president is expected to be held next Tuesday, according to the Catalan public broadcaster Catalunya Ràdio. The date of the investiture debate has been unveiled on the same day that the Parliament president, Roger Torrent, travelled to Brussels in order to meet Carles Puigdemont, the candidate for president in the investiture debate, along with the Catalan ministers that are currently in the Belgian capital.

The meeting was expected to be held in the Delegation of the Government of Catalonia to the European Union. Yet, the Spanish government prevented them from meeting there. Ultimately, they sat down in the Centre Maurits Coppieters, a research center affiliated with the European Free Alliance (EFA), of which the Catalan pro-independence Esquerra Republicana (ERC) party is a member. Indeed, Esquerra MEP Jordi Solé is also the secretary general of EFA. The Spanish government also ordered all staff at the Catalan delegation in Brussels to go home until further notice. Then, they confirmed that the delegation will reopen tomorrow. 

After the Spanish government prevented Torrent and Puigdemont from holding a meeting in the Delegation of the Government of Catalonia to the European Union, the spokesperson for Together for Catalonia said that they would "look into" if it might have "legal consequences"

Puigdemont is the Catalan presidential candidate proposed by the Parliament president after the latter met all party leaders in Parliament. The deadline for picking a president is January 31, since the constitutive session of the Catalan Parliament was held on January 17. On the first vote, Puigdemont will be sworn in if he gets an absolute majority of votes in Parliament – at least 68 MPs should cast their ballot for him. If it is not the case, a second vote would take place within 48 hours, and the candidate would only need a simple majority to be sworn in as Catalan president.

Tomorrow, Roger Torrent is expected to meet representatives from different parliamentary groups in order to prepare the investiture debate. The Parliament Bureau has not yet started to study whether Puigdemont will be able to be sworn in as a president at a distance or not. The Parliament Bureau will also have to decide on whether to accept the proxy vote requested by Catalan ministers in Brussels or not. Puigdemont, who had also asked to be allowed to vote by proxy, ultimately withdrew the request. Now, there are seven MPs that are in prison or in Brussels, as Catalan home affairs minister Joaquin Forn, who is currently in prison in Madrid, resigned as part of his strategy to be freed.

After attending a conference and meeting Danish MPs in the Danish Parliament, Puigdemont insisted that he is willing to attend the investiture debate in the Catalan Parliament. Still, he called on Spanish authorities to make his return possible, without risk of detention. Thus, Puigdemont did not close the door on returning to Catalonia.