Parliament speaker says keeping direct rule “illegally” is “unconceivable”
Roger Torrent visits pro-independence officials in three Madrid prisons
The Catalan Parliament speaker, Roger Torrent, was visiting this Tuesday the pro-independence officials jailed in three Madrid region prisons. It is his second visit since he took office in January. Torrent met on Monday evening his predecessor in the chamber, Carme Forcadell, and the deposed minister Dolors Bassa, in the Alcalá-Meco female jail. On Tuesday morning he visited the Estremera center where the also dismissed ministers Jordi Turull, Josep Rull, Raül Romeva and Joaquim Forn, along with Oriol Junqueras, vice president of the Carles Puigdemont cabinet, are incarcerated. In the afternoon, he is set to visit MP Jordi Sànchez and grassroots leader Jordi Cuixart in Soto del Real jail.
Torrent also denounced the extension of direct rule in Catalonia on the grounds that Spain is not allowing jailed deposed ministers to be reinstated. “Trying to keep direct rule illegally when the government is already formed is inconceivable,” said Roger Torrent in an interview with the Catalan public radio station.
He was also hopeful that a new government would “start to work as soon as possible.” No executive is currently in place because Madrid does not accept the validity of Torra’s decree appointing for his government two ministers in jail, and two more abroad. “The powers to nominate a government belong only to the Catalan president,” said Torrent.
For him, there is “no alternative” but to lift direct rule. “The institutions can not just repress, at some point they will have to sit and negotiate, engage in dialogue,” he said. “Ignoring this [possibility], democracy is being ignored,” he added. Torrent especially criticized the Spanish Socialists, which suggested some days ago harsher measures in the Spanish penal code in order to update the rebellion crime. A total of 13 Catalan officials are being prosecuted for rebellion by the Spanish Supreme Court.