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Parliament rejects C's motion for speaker to address political 'standstill'

Deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont voted against the motion, in the first time he cast a ballot through a delegate

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05 April 2018 12:59 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

The Catalan Parliament rejected the proposition requesting that the chamber speaker, Roger Torrent, debate the election of a “viable” candidate to swear in and to end the “standstill” in forming a new government; this was voted against by Carles Puigdemont, through a delegate, for the first time this term. 

The motion, presented by unionist Ciutadans (C’s) party, requested that Torrent “appear” – meaning, that he speak not from the Parliament Bureau over which he presides, but instead at the chamber lectern. “Can you go to the lectern,” asked C’s leader Inés Arrimadas during the plenary, “and give a serious speech over what you plan to do in the coming weeks?”

Three candidates so far

Arrimadas referred to the current standstill in forming a new Catalan government. Since the December 21 elections, resulting in a pro-independence majority in the hemicycle led by Carles Puigdemont’s Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) candidacy, three candidates were put forth. Carles Puigdemont, Jordi Sànchez, and Jordi Turull, all challenged by the Spanish government and all currently in custody.

Currently, the name brought up for candidate is once again that of Sànchez. Regards this, Arrimadas also asked Torrent: “Will you return to the chapter for Jordi Sànchez, in which he had to withdraw his candidacy because it could not be carried out?”

A new vote for a familiar name

The motion for Torrent to debate in the chamber received the support of two parties: C’s, and Spain’s ruling People’s Party (PP). Among the pro-independence MPs who voted against it there was a new, but familiar, name: deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont. Indeed, this plenary marks the first vote that Puigdemont was able to vote through a delegate, fellow JxCat party member Elsa Artadi.

The request to allow Puigdemont a vote by proxy in the parliament was presented last week by JxCat, accepted on Tuesday by the Parliament Bureau, and while challenged by unionists, this challenge was denied this morning.

The first vote since October 27

The last time the dismissed Catalan leader cast his ballot in the hemicycle was the last plenary he attended in person, on October 27 2017, when independence was declared after a vote in the chamber.

In the days that followed, Puigdemont left for Belgium, claiming he would not receive a fair trial in Spain. He has since then been detained in Germany, while traveling from Finland, where he had been invited to speak at a conference, back to Belgium. He currently remains in custody.

Official support for Sànchez

Also today, Puigdemont made public his support for jailed MP Jordi Sànchez, who has been incarcerated in the Madrid region since last fall. Sànchez is facing charges for his activism role in the run-up to the declaration of independence; since his pre-trial jailing, he has stepped down from his grassroots role and joined Puigdemont’s JxCat candidacy.

Puigdemont’s endorsement comes after the UN Committee on Human Rights urged Spain to protect Sànchez’s "political rights." Referring to this event, the deposed president stressed the “unprecedented” nature of the opportunity to reactivate Sànchez’s bid.

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  • Leader of C's in Catalonia Inés Arrimadas speaks at the Parliament lectern on April 5 2018 (by Bernat Vilaró)

  • Leader of C's in Catalonia Inés Arrimadas speaks at the Parliament lectern on April 5 2018 (by Bernat Vilaró)