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Amending a law to swear in Puigdemont from Brussels on the table

Pro-independence parties consider two-government solution to investiture impasse, say sources

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06 February 2018 10:58 AM

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ACN | Barcelona

The pro-independence parties are still considering how to swear in Carles Puigdemont as the new Catalan president from Brussels, while at the same time having a working government in Catalonia. The Catalan News Agency (ACN) learned on Tuesday that Puigdemont’s candidacy, Junts per Catalunya, is considering amending a law to enable a candidate for president to take office at a distance. The Presidency Bill could also be modified to greenlight two governments for the country, one based in Brussels and another in Barcelona. The former would lead Catalonia politically, while the latter would manage the daily affairs of the administration.

Yet the pro-independence Esquerra party noted that Junts per Catalunya has not proposed the possibility of modifying the Presidency Bill in order to unblock the situation. Despite Junts per Catalunya considering the move, Esquerra decided not to assess it, arguing that different proposals are being published every day. Still, they stressed that the priority is not the investiture's schedule, but the reaching of an agreement.

Dual presidency

Some sources said on Monday that the pro-independence parties were considering a dual presidency. A pro-independence assembly of local and Catalan-wide elected members would swear in Puigdemont as the ‘legitimate’ president in Brussels. At the same time, another person would be appointed as president in the Catalan Parliament, in accordance with Spanish law. Yet while the pro-independence Esquerra party said that the proposal “sounds good,” Junts per Catalunya flatly rejected swearing in Puigdemont only symbolically. The candidacy is seeking a formula in which he would keep some executive powers.   

Madrid's reaction

Thus, Junts per Catalunya is considering amending the law. Yet the Spanish government has already branded the plans “impossible and ridiculous.” The Spanish vice president, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, said on Tuesday morning that Puigdemont “cannot be president.” She also said that the initiative shows a “lack of respect” towards Catalan society by the pro-independence parties. For her, the main unionist party in the Catalan Parliament, Ciutadans, should step up and “put up a fight” against the forces in favor of a Catalan state.

Catalan socialists urge not to “play with the institutions”

The Catalan government’s headquarters is in Barcelona, not in Waterloo. That’s what the spokeswoman for the Catalan Socialist party, Eva Granados, said regarding Junts per Catalunya's proposal. Her party flatly rejected the possibility of amending the Presidency Bill in order to unblock the investiture of a new Catalan president. Granados urged pro-independence parties not to “play with the institutions”.

Regarding the possibility of having two heads of government, one in Brussels and another in Catalonia, the spokeswoman for the Catalan Socialists stated that it would “undermine” Catalan institutions. She called Junts per Catalunya's proposal “ridiculous and stressed that “there is only one law” and that it cannot be changed for the “personal” situation of one political leader.

“Frivolous and legally unfeasible,” says Catalan PP

The spokesman for the Catalan People’s Party, Alejandro Fernández, said that the idea of amending the law is “frivolous and legally unfeasible”. He recalled that, after the enforcement of Article 155, the Catalan Parliament cannot take any measure contrary to the “measures and the goals” of this article of the Spanish constitutions.

  • “It is part of Puigdemont’s show”

    Fernando de Páramo · Ciutadans spokesman

“It’s part of Puigdemont’s show,” states Ciutadans

The spokesman for the Ciutadans party, Fernando de Páramo, considered the proposal of amending the Presidency Bill to be Puigdemont’s latest “fantasies”. He even assessed its legality, asserting that it is “absurd”. “It is part of Puigdemont’s show,” he pointed out.

De Páramo insisted that the pro-independence parties’ proposals have no future. “Puigdemont wants to be a symbolic president, but what is not symbolic is his party’s corruption,” said the spokesman for Ciutadans.

Catalunya en Comú call for a left-wing candidate as alternative

Symbolic gestures do not contribute to overcoming the current political situation. That is what the spokeswoman for Catalunya en Comú, Elisenda Alamany, stated when asked about the possibility of having two heads of government. Indeed, she insisted that the left-wing parties in parliament, the ERC, CUP and Catalunya en Comú parties, might propos an alternative candidate to Puigdemont. Alamany also called on pro-independence parties to form a government in order to end with the application of Article 155.

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  • Carles Puigdemont, during a Junts per Catalunya meeting in Brussels on February 5, 2018 (by Laura Pous)

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