Puigdemont calls unionist efforts to bar him from European election 'desperate'
Former president dismisses appeal to electoral authority by PP and Cs parties aimed at preventing his bid to become MEP
Responding to the efforts of the unionist PP and Cs parties to have him barred from running in the upcoming European election, former president Carles Puigdemont called the attempt "desperate."
On Thursday, the two parties that fiercely oppose Catalonia's independence appealed to Spain's electoral authority to exclude Puigdemont and two of his former ministers from standing in the election because they are not registered residents of Spain.
The former president and some of his ministers left Catalonia for Belgium following the failed independence bid in October 2017. Although charged with rebellion, they have so far avoided the Spanish judiciary's attempts to extradite them.
According to Puigdemont, Cs and PP "are once again making fools of themselves" with their appeal, and he insisted that he and his former ministers, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí, who will run on the same ticket, have "every right" to stand in the election.
"[Ciutadans and the People's Party] are once again making fools of themselves"
Carles Puigdemont · Former Catalan president
In fact, Puigdemont put the appeal down to "nervousness" on the part of the Cs and PP parties, which he claimed were becoming increasingly worried about his chances of being elected an MEP in the election at the end of May.
However, the head of Cs in Spain, Albert Rivera, justified his party's appeal to the electoral authority, arguing that someone who had attempted to "carry out a coup" should not be allowed to occupy "a public position representing the Kingdom of Spain."
Support from Minister-President of Flanders
Puigdemont was taking part in a conference on the independence movement in the Belgian city of Kortrijk, where he also met with the Minister-President of Flanders, Geert Bourgeois, who was there to give a talk.
Bourgeois, who is also standing in the election on behalf of his N-VA Flemish nationalist party, urged Catalan independence supporters to continue to show "courage" and told Puigdemont: "You will find an ally in me and the whole N-VA delegation in the European Parliament."
In return, the former president thanked Bourgeois for his support in Belgium since he left Catalonia, "without which it would have been impossible to continue fighting on," he said.