Puigdemont: independence must be respected if a majority votes for it
Deposed Catalan president urges Spain and the EU to clarify whether they will respect the results of the December 21 election
Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, ousted by the Spanish government following a declaration of independence, stressed that if a majority of people vote in favor of independence in the December 21 election their decision should be respected. In an exclusive interview with Catalan News, Puigdemont said that “if a clear majority of votes and seats from a community says ‘I want to be an independent state,’ this is a decision that must be respected.”
Speaking from Brussels, where he and four deposed ministers traveled, claiming they did not trust the Spanish justice to offer them a fair trial, Puigdemont urged Madrid and the European Union to clarify whether they will respect the results of the vote or not.
After dismissing the Catalan government and dissolving the Parliament, Spanish president Mariano Rajoy called new elections in Catalonia on December 21. Puigdemont announced on Friday that he is ready to head a joint civil candidacy, encompassing independence supporters that would seek “to protect the greater good in these elections.” These values, according to Puigdemont, are “democracy” and “the fight against Article 155”, referring to the Spanish Constitution tool that Rajoy triggered to take over Catalonia’s self-rule.
“If a clear majority of votes and seats from a community says ‘I want to be an independent state,’ this is a decision that must be respected”
Carles Puigdemont · Deposed Catalan president
“Results must be accepted with all the consequences,” Puigdemont said, and added that a democracy can’t be “kidnapped” depending on whether political leaders like what citizens decide or not. “It’s not for Rajoy to command what happens in our country, nor for the Constitutional Court,” but for “the citizens of Catalonia,” Puigdemont said.
The first priority of the next Catalan government will be to stop Article 155 and “get the institutions back,” said the deposed president. According to him, this is a duty that not only falls upon independence supporters, but on “all democrats,” too.
Extradition and prison
A Belgian judge is to decide next Friday whether to accept an extradition petition from the Spanish judiciary for Puigdemont and his ministers, who face charges related to the declaration of independence.
Eight deposed ministers who stayed in Catalonia remain in jail, as well as civil society leaders Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart. Catalan Parliament president Carme Forcadell was released on Friday after spending a night in prison and paying a bail of €150,000.
A "caricature" of Europe
Puigdemont accused the EU of being “a caricature” of Europe. “In the hands of these people, who have even corrupted the fundamental values of the EU, it’s obvious that there is no will to help solve this conflict through politics,” he said.
“I’m a pessimist. Therefore, I’m forced to fight for Europe, because I don’t want this project of peace, democracy, prosperity, fraternity, and of mixed cultures and languages to be put at risk,” Puigdemont said.