Puigdemont: ‘extraordinarily abnormal’ for Parliament to be ‘under rule’ of a Spanish judge

Former president accuses Pablo Llarena of “interfering" with pro-independence majority

Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont (by Natàlia Segura)
Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont (by Natàlia Segura) / ACN

ACN | Brussels

October 10, 2018 02:16 PM

Former president Carles Puigdemont has warned that it’s "extraordinarily abnormal" that the Catalan parliament is "under the rule" of Pablo Llarena, the Spanish judge who sent pro-independence leaders to trial for rebellion.

Speaking from Brussels, where he lives following a declaration of independence in Catalonia deemed as illegal, Puigdemont accused Llarena of "meddling" with Catalan politics and "interfering" with the parliamentary majority that came with the last election.

Blocked from the post

Spanish courts blocked Puigdemont’s attempt to retake his post at a distance, after becoming the most voted candidate among pro-independence parties. He was later suspended as a member of parliament by Spanish courts along with five other colleagues.

The MPs’ suspension caused a major row between pro-independence parties, as Puigdemont’s party, Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), rejected complying with court orders while their main allies, Esquerra (ERC), abided by the ruling.

On Tuesday, ERC blocked JxCat’s attempts to allow Puigdemont and his party colleagues continue voting through a delegate, as the legal consequences of allowing such a vote would most certainly affect the parliament speaker and one of ERC’s most prominent leaders, Roger Torrent.

In a letter published later in the day, Puigdemont and JxCat's jailed MPs said that they'd rather lose the majority in parliament than comply with court orders and be replaced as MPs.

Speaker of parliament

Also at the event in Brussels with Carles Puigdemont was Jan Peumans, speaker of the Flemish parliament. At the inauguration of an exhibition about the October 1 referendum and the political situation in Catalonia at the parliament itself, read an excerpt from his letter to his Catalan former counterpart, Carme Forcadell, now in pre-trial prison. The letter has caused, recently. an official complaint from the Spanish Foreign Affairs ministry.