Puigdemont: EU state not accepting election results would be “scandal”
Should the Spanish government accept a pro-independence party victory, the Catalan president would return to Catalonia risking arrest
Spain must accept the results of the upcoming election in Catalonia —even if pro-independence parties win a majority of seats. This, according to president Carles Puigdemont. Speaking from Brussels in a live press conference organized by the Catalan News Agency (ACN), Puigdemont said that should Madrid not accept a victory of parties pushing for a Catalan state, “it would be a scandal for a European Union member state”.
“If we can run in an election, but afterwards not apply our electoral program, it makes no sense,” he said. “If Spain does not accept the results of an election after setting the rules of the game, this would be shameful for the EU.”
Should Spain accept a victory of pro-independence parties, he would come back to Catalonia in order to assume his seat at the Catalan Parliament, and eventually be elected as president —even at the risk of being arrested.
“If they impose the rules of the game, and yet the message from the Catalan people is clear, there is no option but to accept it”
Carles Puigdemont · Catalan president
According to Puigdemont, “accepting the results” would entail accepting the electoral programs of pro-independence parties and allowing their leaders —including himself, in Brussels, and vice president Oriol Junqueras, in prison— to assume their post at the Catalan Parliament. “If a majority of people in Catalonia want a pro-independence party at the Catalan Parliament, it should be made possible.”
Additionally, he asked the Spanish government to end to the prosecution of pro-independence leaders. “The Spanish state, responsible for appointing the Attorney General, should withdraw the charges,” he said.
“This is an nonexistent case, because there is no crime,” said Puigdemont, who accused the Spanish government and unionist parties of “trying to win at the courts what they can’t win at the ballot boxes”. “Is there a conflict? Of course! But it’s political, not criminal. We should deal with this problem in its proper form.”
Imposing "the rules of the game"
Puigdemont urged the Spanish government to accept whatever the Catalan voters decide on December 21. “If they impose the rules of the game, and yet the message from the Catalan people is clear, there is no option but to accept it.” Otherwise, he said, this would show that the election is a “simulacrum” aimed at “disguising” Article 155, the constitutional device that Madrid triggered to impose direct rule in Catalonia and dismiss the cabinet.
“If this happened instead in Hungary, Poland or Romania, the EU would quickly issue an opinion,” he said. Puigdemont stressed that he aims for a democratic change within the EU. “No way do I want Catalonia to leave the EU. What I do want is a strong Catalonia within the EU.”