Pro-independence agreement over presidency ‘in the coming days’
Two heads of government, one in Catalonia and one in Belgium, under discussion, according to sources
The pro-independence parties will reach an agreement on some formula to swear in a new Catalan president “in the coming days.” This is what an official for Junts per Catalunya said on Monday from Brussels in a party meeting with its leader, Carles Puigdemont. He is the candidate for the presidency for the pro-independence bloc, which has the majority of seats in the Catalan Parliament. Yet the Spanish authorities are challenging his bid for the post. While waiting for the Spanish Constitutional Court to have a final say on the issue, the three forces for a Catalan state are holding talks both in Catalonia and in Belgium.
On Sunday some left-wing Esquerra officials met Puigdemont, and on Monday it was a delegation of far-left CUP the one also travelling to the EU capital. Little about the negotiations has been unveiled so far. Yet a Catalan newspaper, La Vanguardia, published on Monday that the three forces are considering having two presidents in the country –something close to what the jailed Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras proposed last week.
The idea would be using a pro-independence assembly of local and Catalan-wide elected members to swear in Puigdemont as ‘legitimate’ president in Brussels. At the same time, another person would be appointed as president in the Catalan Parliament in accordance with the Spanish legality.
Esquerra: “It sounds good”
A spokesman for Esquerra said that this idea “sounds good.” The party still supports Puigdemont as candidate for president, but claims that picking someone for the post who can effectively take office is their priority even if it is someone else. “Picking a new president should not mean criminal consequences or negative legal effects for a number of MPs,” said last week Esquerra’s secretary general.
Yet talking to the press on Monday, an official for Puigdemont’s candidacy, Junts per Catalunya, said that “there will be only one presidency and one investiture; Puigdemont’s.” He also said that the talks are going in a “good direction.”
Unionists reject dual presidency
The unionist parties flatly reject the possibility of having two presidents or two governments, one in Catalonia and the other one in exile. The leader of the Socialists called on the pro-independence parties to stop “posturing” and said that the new Catalan cabinet should not include people involved in the judicial independence case.
The Catalan branch of the People’s Party also denied the possibility of a dual presidency. “I think it is a joke, this is more typical from a videogame or virtual reality,” said its leader. “In a serious place it would be impossible to even consider this possibility, but we are in the country of fantasies,” he added.
The leader of Ciutadans in Catalonia said that she hopes the officials visiting Puigdemont on Monday “are brave enough to tell him that he will not be Catalan president again.”