Socialist leader on Puigdemont: 'He wants to keep tensions as high as possible'
PSC head Miquel Iceta says party of former Catalan president is "hardening" its stance and "going to extremes"
The leader of the Socialist party in Catalonia, Miquel Iceta, said on Tuesday that former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont "wants to keep tensions as high as possible."
Miquel Iceta, from the same party as the new Spanish president Pedro Sánchez, regretted the change of leadership in Puigdemont's party, the PDeCAT, saying the group is now "hardening" its stance on independence and "going to extremes."
On Sunday, the PDeCAT elected a new leadership very close to Puigdemont. The party's last president, Marta Pascal, resigned over disagreements with the exiled Catalan leader.
On Monday, the new vice-president of the PDeCAT, Míriam Nogueras, said the Socialists would find it more difficult to reach agreements with the party now than they had in the past.
"I sometimes wonder what does Puigdemont want? An agreement? Hardly," said Iceta during an interview with Catalan radio.
Catalan and Spanish officials have been meeting in the last few weeks in attempts to restore dialogue and trust between the two governments.
Catalan president Quim Torra met with Spanish leader Pedro Sánchez. Moreover, a bilateral meeting between both executives is expected in the next few weeks.
Torra was chosen by Puigdemont as his successor since the latter would be immediately arrested if he came back to Catalonia.
However, the former Catalan president is free to move around the European Union, as Spain withdrew the European Arrest Warrant against him. He is expected to reside in Belgium, where he will return on Saturday after having been in Germany for months.
The Catalan government spokeswoman and minister for presidency Elsa Artadi, herself a close ally to Puigdemont, insisted on Wednesday that the Catalan government is united in defending a strategy of "dialogue" with Spain in order to solve the current political stalemate.