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Parliament president does not close door on Puigdemont taking office

Torrent starts round of talks with party leaders to set date for choosing president “as soon as possible”

 

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18 January 2018 11:50 AM

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ACN | Barcelona

“We will see how to face the investiture,” said the Parliament’s new president, Roger Torrent, regarding the possibility of Carles Puigdemont, as the most voted pro-independence candidate, being elected and sworn in as Catalan president. In an interview with the Catalunya Ràdio public broadcaster, Torrent pledged to carry out the traditional round of talks with the leaders of each party “as soon as possible”. Today, the new Parliament president will meet the leaders of Catalonia in Common and the Catalan Socialists.   

In the talks, the main party leaders sit down with the Parliament president to let him know their intentions regarding the debate to pick a president. Torrent will try to carry out the meetings today and tomorrow so that a date for the investiture debate can be set quickly. Torrent also urged the parties in the meetings to “respect the institution” and what the public voted for in the recent election.

Domènech asks not to allow Puigdemont's reinstatement in at a distance

After the bureau’s meeting, the Parliament’s new president started the traditional round of talks with the leader of Catalonia in Common. Domènech asked the Parliament’s new president to not allow Puigdemont to be sworn in as a president at a distance, since he considered it to be “unfeasible”.

Domènech had already stated that his party will support neither Puigdemont nor Arrimadas to be sworn in as president, as Catalonia in Common wants to end up with what they consider to be a bloc policy. Yet, he noted that pro-independence parties should propose a candidate for presidency, as they won the election. “We believe that this is not feasible,” he stated. In addition, he argued that the “Catalan government is in Catalonia, not abroad.”

This time, the round of talks is especially important. Despite the fact the most likely candidate to be sworn in has a majority of votes, it is not certain it will be possible for him to be invested in absentia. The Spanish government has already said that it will use “all means” to prevent Puigdemont from acting as president from Brussels, where he fled to after the enforcement of Article 155 of the Spanish constitution and Madrid's subsequent takeover of Catalan self-government.

After the meeting with Domènech, Torrent will sit down with the leader of the Catalan Socialists, followed by the other party leaders. 

Puigdemont's reinstatement, a "political decision"

Torrent insisted that the decision regarding Puigdemont to be sworn in as president must be taken by the Parliament’s bureau. In relation to the the non-binding report issued by Parliament lawyers stating that regulations did not allow Puigdemont to be reinstated at a distance, Torrent stressed that the final decision has to be taken by political bodies and not by legal bodies. "Lawyers do their work, what they have to do, that is interpreting the rules. But, obviously, there are decisions that are political and that must be taken by the bureau and the president,” he argued.

Bureau’s first meeting

Meanwhile, the Parliament bureau also met for the first time. It is made up of four pro-independence members, along with the Parliament president and three unionist representatives. As Parliament president, Torrent heads the bureau, while the pro-independence Together for Catalonia’s Josep Costa is its first vice president, with José Maria Espejo-Saavedra, from the unionist Ciutadans party, as the body’s second vice president.

The bureau’s four secretaries are all from four different parties: Eusebi Campdepadrós (JxCat) is first secretary, David Pérez (Catalan Socialists) is second secretary, Joan García (Ciutadans) is third secretary, and Alba Vergés (ERC) is fourth secretary. The CUP, Catalonia in Common and PP parties have no representatives in the bureau.

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  • Roger Torrent has been an MP for Esquerra Republicana since 2012 (by Rafa Garrido)

  • Roger Torrent has been an MP for Esquerra Republicana since 2012 (by Rafa Garrido)