Deposed Catalan leader Carlos Puigdemont said on Tuesday that he would “run the risk” of going back to Spain if he won the election in Catalonia on the 21st of December next, the Spanish daily, La Vanguardia, reported. Puigdemont also described the arrest warrant issued against him by the Spanish authorities as a “fantasy”.
“Votes weigh more than handcuffs,” said Puigdemont, who feels he will not be arrested if Catalans reelect him at the head of the regional government. He said he wondered how Madrid could prevent him from taking up his post if he obtained a majority of votes at the polls. He also said he wished to return to Spain before the election so as to “exercise [his] right to vote,” but insisted that this “did not depend on him,” La Vanguardia reported.
Spain’s High Court withdrew the European arrest warrant against Puigdemont and four of his ex-ministers on the 5th of December. However, the Spanish arrest warrants against the five pro-independence leaders, who are “in exile” in Brussels, remain in force, so they risk arrest as soon as they land on Spanish territory.
They are accused of fraud, sedition and rebellion, which carry prison sentences of up to 30 years.