Spain will retain direct rule of Catalonia if exiled ex-leader Carles Puigdemont is reelected, says PM Mariano Rajoy

Spain will continue to rule the regional administration of Catalonia directly from Madrid in the event that its self-exiled former leader Carles Puigdemont is chosen as president

Reuters January 16, 2018 08:59:54 IST
Spain will retain direct rule of Catalonia if exiled ex-leader Carles Puigdemont is reelected, says PM Mariano Rajoy

Madrid: Spain will continue to rule the regional administration of Catalonia directly from Madrid in the event that its self-exiled former leader Carles Puigdemont is chosen as president by the Catalan parliament, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on Monday.

Spain will retain direct rule of Catalonia if exiled exleader Carles Puigdemont is reelected says PM Mariano Rajoy

File image of Spain's prime minister Mariano Rajoy. AP

Puigdemont fled to Brussels in October after Rajoy fired him as Catalonia’s leader when he declared an independent republic following an illegal referendum. He faces arrest and possibly decades in jail if he returns to Spain.

With only days before Catalonia’s parliament convenes to elect a new regional government, separatists said Puigdemont was their candidate to lead the region again. They are exploring the possibility he could do so by video link from Brussels.

But Rajoy on Monday poured scorn on the idea.

"It’s absurd that someone aspires to be president of the Catalan regional government as a fugitive in Brussels — it’s a case of common sense," he said in a speech at his centre-right People’s Party (PP) Madrid headquarters.

If Puigdemont tried to attend the parliamentary vote for a new head of region from Brussels, the Spanish government would challenge his appearance immediately in the courts, he said.

Rajoy said if Puigdemont was re-elected, constitutional powers invoked by the government in October to impose direct rule on the region would continue to apply.

Rajoy had called regional elections in December to try and resolve the political crisis that led to an exodus of companies from the region.

However, the election returned a slim majority to parties favouring independence, raising the possibility of a renewed push for a split from Spain this year.

The parliament will meet for the first time on Jan. 17 to choose the committee that rules its day-to-day activities. A new leader could be voted in by parliament as early as 31 January.

Updated Date:

also read

LaLiga: Ahead of Real Madrid's clash against Barcelona, a look at the fixture through the ages
Sports

LaLiga: Ahead of Real Madrid's clash against Barcelona, a look at the fixture through the ages

Ahead of the crucial encounter between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium, here's a look at the fixture through the ages.

Florentino Perez re-elected unopposed as Real Madrid president for sixth term
Sports

Florentino Perez re-elected unopposed as Real Madrid president for sixth term

Florentino Perez was the only name in the running since the window for potential candidates to apply opened at the start of the month.

LaLiga: Real Madrid chief Florentino Perez presents candidacy for re-election as club president
Sports

LaLiga: Real Madrid chief Florentino Perez presents candidacy for re-election as club president

Perez is the only person to put themselves forward since the window for potential candidates to apply opened a week ago. Anyone who wishes to take on the powerful Perez has until Monday to present their candidacy.