Parliament president to announce candidate for Catalan presidency on Monday
With the round of talks with party leaders at an end, Carles Puigdemont is the only candidate on the table
Parliament president, Roger Torrent, will announce the candidate he proposes be sworn in as Catalan president on Monday. Torrent today ended the traditional round of talks with the Catalan chamber’s party leaders to discuss who has the most support to become the next president. Torrent today met the leaders of the ERC, Together for Catalonia and Ciutadans parties, after sitting down yesterday with the leaders of Catalonia in Common, the Catalan Socialists, the CUP and the People’s Party.
With the round of talks now at an end, Carles Puigdemont is the most likely candidate to be sworn in as president, as he has the most support from the majority pro-independence bloc in Parliament. Yet, with Puigdemont in Brussels, it is not certain whether it will be possible for him to take office at a distance.
So far, the pro-independence ERC party has backed Puigdemont as president, but has not clarified whether it will end up voting for him in the investiture debate or not. Meanwhile, the other pro-independence party, CUP, says it will decide what to do in the investiture debate. All of the unionist parties are against Puigdemont being voted into office while he is in Brussels, while Catalonia in Common asked the Parliament president not to allow Puigdemont to be sworn in as president at a distance, since they consider it to be “unfeasible”.
JxCat to study “immunity” of MPs
Together for Catalonia is studying the "political and judicial" implications of any "immunity" that MPs may have. According to the Catalan Statute, MPs in the chamber "enjoy immunity" and cannot be arrested if they do not “commit a flagrant crime”. The Together for Catalonia MPs argued that all MPs, including those who are in Brussels, as well as those who are in prison, enjoy this “immunity”.
In the meeting with Torrent, two Together for Catalonia leaders, Elsa Artadi and Eduard Pujol, said that they talked about the “duty to defend” and “protect” all MPs in Parliament. In addition, they stated that all MPs should be “treated” the same way and that they should have the “same rights”, referring to those MPs who are in Belgium, including Together for Catalonia’s candidate, and those in prison.
Yet they also pointed out that they did not discuss how to swear Puigdemont in as Catalan president from Belgium.
Puigdemont’s proposal “ridiculous”, says Cs
For her part, the leader of the Ciutadans unionist party, Inés Arrimadas, accused Together for Catalonia of wanting to profit from MP’s parliamentary “privileges”, referring to the study into the immunity of MPs. "They like political privileges, while we are here to eliminate them," she stressed.
Arrimadas also accused Puigdemont of thinking that the Parliament is “at his service” and said that he cannot govern Catalonia from Brussels. She labelled Puigdemont’s proposal “ridiculous” and asked him to “see reason and stop denigrating the institution.” Still, the leader of Ciutadans pointed out that the final decision must be taken by the Parliament president and she asked him to “preserve” the institution.
"We will support the candidate in favor of the Catalan Republic who had the most support”
Raül Romeva · ERC MP
ERC to back Puigdemont in investiture debate
Torrent also sat down today with pro-independence ERC MPs Raül Romeva and Marta Rovira. They told the Parliament president that their party will not put forward any of its MPs for president in the investiture debate, as ERC will support Together for Catalonia’s candidate, Carles Puigdemont, to be sworn in as Catalan president.
Yet, Romeva did not specify whether ERC will vote in favor of Puigdemont in the investiture debate or not. At a press conference after sitting down with the Parliament president, Romeva stated that the meeting was aimed at informing the Parliament president whether the party will propose a presidential candidate. According to the ERC party MP, that is why they have not talked about whether his party will vote for Puigdemont in the investiture debate or about whether it is possible to do so at a distance or not.
"We will support the candidate in favor of the Catalan Republic who had the most support,” stressed Romeva. Yet, he did add that how to go about it is something that “needs to be assessed in the coming days.” Regarding Torrent’s decision to travel to Brussels to meet Puigdemont, Romeva noted that Together for Catalonia’s candidate is one of the elected 135 MPs and that it is “normal” that the Parliament president should talk to everyone.
CUP to decide its vote tomorrow
Meanwhile, representatives of the CUP party will meet tomorrow to decide whether to vote in favor of Puigdemont in the investiture debate or not. The party noted that the “exchange of information” with other pro-independence parties has not been as “fluid” as they would have liked. Still, they said they expect to have “more specific information” about some aspects, such as “governance and the building of the republic,” in the next few days.