The head of Spain’s government, Mariano Rajoy, said on Friday that it was ”absurd” for deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont to want to govern Catalonia from Belgium, where he fled in October to avoid legal proceedings. “It’s absurd to claim to be the president of a region while living abroad and even more absurd to plan to carry out these functions from abroad,” Mr. Rajoy told the press one week after pro-independence parties renewed their majority in Catalonia’s regional parliament. Rajoy announced that he would call the first session of the new parliament on the 17th of January. The first round of presidential elections for the region must be held within 10 days after that date, he recalled.
Puigdemont’s list obtained the highest number of pro-independence votes at regional elections on the 21st of December. His supporters are studying the possibility of his presenting his candidature as the head of the regional executive from Belgium. On the other hand, the rival pro-independence Republican Left of Catalonia, ERC, is urging him to return to Spain, where he would be arrested and jailed like ERC leader Oriol Junqueras.
The two men and a score of other separatist leaders, have been charged with “rebellion” and “sedition” for their role in the attempted secession by Catalonia, whose parliament proclaimed its independence on the 27th of October 2017. Rajoy had immediately placed the region under tutelage, deposing its government, dissolving its parliament, then calling new elections.
Puigdemont secretly slipped out of Spain and turned up in Belgium a few days later.
The Brussels Times