Puigdemont to give up presidency bid if elected MEP

Former president would take post in European Parliament, and challenges Spain to “respect European rule of law” and accept him to take office

Carles Puigdemont delivers a press conference to the Catalan News Agency from Brussels via videoconference. (Photo: Blanca Blay)
Carles Puigdemont delivers a press conference to the Catalan News Agency from Brussels via videoconference. (Photo: Blanca Blay) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

May 13, 2019 11:44 AM

The former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont will give up his bid to be reinstated in the post if he is elected MEP in the upcoming election and is able to take office.

This is what he said in a press conference at the Catalan News Agency via video link on Monday morning.

He is currently an MP in the Catalan chamber, and the law provides that this post is not compatible with anyone holding a seat in the European Parliament. Puigdemont has shown determination to get the seat in the European chamber, and only MPs in Parliament can bid for the presidency.

He said he does not “renounce” to the presidency, but admitted at the same time that “Spain has placed a legal barricade” to prevent him from being reinstated.

After a failed attempt from the Spanish electoral authority to veto him from the EU election, Puigdemont’s next aim is to get a seat and be allowed to take office despite being prosecuted for rebellion in Spain. “I hope the Spanish authorities respect the European rule of law,” he said, as it is the member states who proclaim to the EU who are the elected MEPs.

Return to Catalonia not clarified

“In the European rule of law there is no doubt about my immunity and my right to [become] an MEP, not only in my case, but also for ministers Comín and Ponsatí,” referring to his former government colleagues also running for the pro-independence Junts per Catalunya.

“This is a threat to European democracy and we need to improve the basis of our democracy,” he added.

Concerning his plans on whether he will return to Catalonia using this immunity if he takes office as MEP, as he suggested some weeks ago, he avoided the issue and emphasized his plans in Brussels. 

“One of our goals is to defend European democracy against authoritarianism, populism, xenophobia and state nationalism, which is increasing all around Europe.”

“Our commitment is to join other peoples to fight for freedom, and specifically the right to self-determination.”

Electoral authority

Meanwhile, the Spanish foreign affairs minister, Josep Borrell, said that the question of whether or not Puigdemont could take up office if elected is up to the electoral authority that regulates the elections. 

"It is not a problem for the government, but rather a matter for the electoral authority to decide," the Spanish Socialist minister said.