BARCELONA – The speaker of the regional chamber in Spain’s Catalonia was adamant on Thursday that the self-exiled former president of the region would continue to be the sole candidate to take on the presidency once again, although the process would not go ahead until his immunity from several charges related to his role in a banned independence declaration last year was guaranteed.
Roger Torrent’s defiant statement to Catalan private radio channel Rac1 is likely to prolong a stand-off with the Spanish government, which has insisted that Carles Puigdemont must return to Spain in order to take on the role of Catalan president, although such an act would lead to his immediate arrest as he is wanted for an investigation into alleged sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds for leading an outlawed separatist bid in Oct. 2017.
“We will only do this investiture debate if we are given guarantees for Puigdemont, so that this investment can be effective,” Torrent, a member of the separatist Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), said during the interview.
“Carles Puigdemont is the candidate for the investiture of the regional government,” he added.
Puigdemont was currently in Brussels to avoid the arrest warrant issued after his ousting by the Spanish government in the wake of the unilateral declaration of independence on Oct. 27, 2017. Despite this, the ex-regional president has insisted that he can rule from afar via teleconference.
He was unanimously backed by the loose collective of pro-independence parties who in the snap Dec. 21 elections cobbled together a slim majority in the regional chamber with Puigdemont’s Together For Catalonia (JxCat) at the fore.
An investiture debate scheduled to take place at the end of Jan. was delayed by Torrent, who said he wanted to wait until the Constitutional Court made its ruling on several pleas lodged by pro-separatists in favor of Puigdemont being invested from afar.