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Torra offers to reinstate sacked ministers in jail or abroad

Spanish government says deposed officials “cannot be ministers” again and appointing them would lead the executive to reconsider ending direct rule

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15 May 2018 11:14 AM

by

ACN | Barcelona
Direct rule of Catalonia is expected to be lifted as soon as a new government for the country is appointed. This should happen by the end of this week, but it might not be that easy. If president-elect Quim Torra nominates ministers who are either in jail or abroad, the Spanish government could challenge the decision, thus postponing the formation of a Catalan cabinet. This became the main focus of attention on Tuesday, after Torra said he would offer to “reinstate” all the sacked Puigdemont cabinet members to their posts. Yet, the Spanish government delegate in Catalonia has already said that “they cannot be ministers.”  

In his first interview since being elected president, Torra said “it would be an honor” if the jailed and exiled ministers were to accept being appointed to the same posts they were removed from last October. Six of them are in two Madrid prisons, while four more are in exile, in Scotland and Belgium. Carles Puigdemont, the president of the dismissed cabinet, is in Berlin, with two more free in Catalonia. Yet all of them are awaiting trial over an alleged misuse of public funds, while nine of them also face rebellion charges.

 

  • "People who are held in custody or who have fled the Spanish judiciary obviously cannot be ministers, even if they are appointed"

    Enric Millo · Spanish government delegate in Catalonia

Torra will meet the deposed president Puigdemont in Germany on Tuesday afternoon. The formation of a new executive is among the topics they will cover, the newly elected head of government said on Tuesday. Torra also intends to visit the incarcerated officials this week or “as soon as possible.”

"They cannot be ministers"

Some hours earlier, on Monday evening, the Spanish government delegate in Catalonia, Enric Millo, commented on the possibility of reinstating the dismissed ministers. “People who are held in custody or who have fled the Spanish judiciary obviously cannot be ministers, even if they are appointed,” said Millo. “They could not be present, they would not be able to attend their direction committee meetings, they would not be present at events, to sign documents or to sort out everyday issues.”

According to Millo, reinstating them would be “nonsense.” Yet he also said that he was “unaware” of whether it is legal for them to take office from prison or abroad. The Spanish government would assess the legal situation should such thing happen and whether to go ahead with lifting the direct rule of Catalonia, revealed Millo.

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  • The Catalan president-elect, Quim Torra, during an interview for the Catalan public radio (by Júlia Pérez)

  • The Catalan president-elect, Quim Torra, during an interview for the Catalan public radio (by Júlia Pérez)

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