Published: Sun, March 04, 2018
Life&Culture | By Peggy Hughes

Puigdemont renounces the presidency and points to Sànchez as a substitute

Puigdemont renounces the presidency and points to Sànchez as a substitute

Catalan Parliament speaker Roger Torrent said Tuesday that he would propose former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, who is in self-imposed exile in Belgium, for nomination as a candidate for the position of the head of the Catalan government, the Generalitat.

Announcing he was provisionally withdrawing his candidacy, he said that decision "is founded in one reason only - under current conditions it's the way to get a new government under way".

Rajoy said on Thursday that a Catalan leader "must be chosen now who is in Spain... and who has no problems with the law". Puigdemont was also dismissed.

He will be arrested for rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds to break Catalonia from Spain the moment he steps back into his country. Puigdemont's announcement did little to increase the chances of ending the separatists' standoff with the central government in Madrid.

Puigdemont had earlier campaigned in December 2017 to be reinstated as a regional leader and was supported by various independent political groups, which demanded Puigdemont to govern remotely. But Madrid, which has maintained it has the law on its side, has waited out the crisis, refusing to allow Puigdemont to rule from overseas.

Puigdemont threw his weight behind Jordi Sanchez as Catalonia's next president.

Madrid called a snap election for December past year in hope of having a more moderate Catalan government to deal with, but its plan backfired when the region voted a majority of pro-independence MPs into parliament, maintaining the status quo. The motion defends Puigdemont as the "legitimate" candidate for the regional presidency, AFP reported.

The plebiscite was not, however, recognized by Madrid, which subsequently imposed direct rule over the autonomous region and dismissed its government.

Inés Arrimadas, the leader of the unionist Citizens party in Catalonia, said the session had shown that there was "no road map or design for the future for the Catalan people".

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