Pro-independence parties look to recognize Puigdemont’s 'legitimacy'
JxCat and ERC working on a parliamentary motion to politically support the deposed Catalan leader
The pro-independence parties Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) and Esquerra (ERC) are working on a parliamentary motion to recognize Carles Puigdemont’s “legitimacy” as Catalan president. While the measure would have little legal effects, the initiative does not mean that the pro-independence bloc will give up on trying to swear Puigdemont in as the actual president, as sources from both parties told the Catalan News Agency. The same sources said that the initiative might be presented on Thursday or Friday.
Yet a new Catalan president would still have to be sworn in. Who it might be and the formula for doing so is still under discussion. Neither JxCat nor ERC have ruled out trying to swear Puigdemont in as leader again, despite Madrid’s opposition. The Spanish Constitutional Court is still yet to decide on his nomination as presidential candidate put forward by the Catalan speaker in January.
Formulas on the table
In the past few days, several formulas for tackling the investiture have been on the table. On Wednesday, an internal document of the CUP party revealed some possibilities JxCat was considering for swearing Puigdemont in. Among them, the candidacy was planning to swear its leader in as head of a ‘Council of the Republic’ in Brussels on February 18.
The same document also showed that JxCat was considering another swearing-in session in the Catalan Parliament, on February 21 or 22, in which Puigdemont would be confirmed as the head of the Catalan government remotely. Before that, however, an amendment to the Catalan presidency bill would be required. Yet, ERC expressed scepticism over the possibility of reforming the law.
Another option considered in the talks was a dual presidency. A pro-independence assembly of local and Catalan-wide elected members would swear in Puigdemont as the ‘legitimate’ president in Brussels, in something of a symbolic move. At the same time, another candidate would be appointed president in the Catalan Parliament, in accordance with Spanish law. ERC welcomed the proposal, while JxCat flatly rejected investing Puigdemont only symbolically.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the CUP party for the first time opened the door to appointing someone other than the deposed Catalan president, if necessary. Since then, the party has confirmed that Puigdemont is the only candidate from the pro-independence bloc and that any change would be “submission to the state.”