Parties line up for and against deal to reinstate president
While pro-independence bloc agrees on returning Puigdemont to office, unionist groups question legality of initiative
The agreement between the main pro-independence parties, Together for Catalonia (JxCat) and Esquerra (ERC), to reinstate Carles Puigdemont as president was endorsed on Wednesday by the other group in favor of a Catalan republic, the far-left CUP party.
CUP, whose four seats can ensure a parliamentary majority for the independence bloc, said they would not be an “obstacle or impediment” to JxCAT and ERC’s agreement over the composition of the parliament bureau and the intention to see Puigdemont take office.
Yet CUP did put one condition on its support: a demand for guarantees that “the republic will materialize”. After a referendum in favor of independence in October, the pro-independence parties drew back from full secession from Spain, which then imposed direct rule.
As for JxCat’s idea of swearing Puigdemont in at a distance, CUP refused to comment as it had not received a formal proposal. With only a week until Parliament begins the debate on forming a new government, Puigdemont remains in self-imposed exile in Belgium.
There was no such doubt from the leader of the Ciutadans (Cs) party, which got the most votes in the December 21 election but which has no parliamentary majority. Inés Arrimadas rejected Puigdemont’s proposal, arguing he was like “any other citizen” and subject to the law, which she argues does not allow for such an initiative.
“Catalonia does not deserve a president by Skype” says PSC
Meanwhile, the Catalan socialist party (PSC), which like Cs is against independence, expressed its disapproval of the agreement between JxCat and ERC: “Catalonia does not deserve a president by Skype and we are against it,” said a party head.
Spain’s ruling People’s party (PP) also came out against the agreement between the pro-independence parties. A PP spokesman called the agreement “bad news” and accused JxCat and ERC of wanting to swear in a president “illegally, by mocking the law and twisting the rules”.
While the Catalan Parliament regulations say nothing about an MP standing in for a future president, article 83.1 does allow for the possibility of one delegate making a speech on behalf of another. To do so requires approval by the parliament bureau, in which the pro-independence parties are likely to retain the majority in the chamber's opening session on January 17.