April 12, 2024
Catalan Leader Sets Tough Conditions For Talks On Spain’s New PM
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Catalan Leader Sets Tough Conditions For Talks On Spain’s New PM

The exiled former leader of Catalonia today said that all judicial cases targeting Catalan separatism must be dropped as a condition for his party to negotiate the support of its lawmakers for a new Spanish prime minister in parliament.

Speaking in Brussels, Carles Puigdemont – wanted in Spain for attempting to secede when he led Catalonia in 2016-2017 – said any support from his party would require concessions from acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s left-leaning coalition. Otherwise, Spaniards would have to go to the polls again.

Sanchez’s coalition is seeking the support of Puigdemont’s Junts per Catalunya party to stay in power following a July 23 election. Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Diaz visited Puigdemont in Brussels yesterday.

Alberto Nunez Feijoo, whose conservative People’s Party (PP) won the most votes, will take the first stab at an investiture vote on Sept. 27, but his chances of winning are seen as slim since the PP opposes any concessions to separatists.

If Feijoo’s attempt to form a government fails, it will fall on Sanchez to see if he can muster support to form a government, seen as impossible without support from the seven lawmakers from Puigdemont’s party.

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Puigdemont called on Spain to respect the Catalan independence movement’s legitimacy, abandon judicial actions against it, and create a mechanism to recognise and guarantee compliance with agreements.

Puigdemont said Spain’s parliament would need to draw up legislation granting an amnesty for supporters of Catalan independence.

He also argued that an independence referendum would be legal and democratic and said all that was missing was the “political will” to make it happen.

But he stopped short of insisting on a vote as a condition for sitting down to negotiate. Puigdemont’s regional government held a referendum on independence in Catalonia in 2017 despite a ruling by Spain’s constitutional court that it was illegal.

 Puigdemont said Catalan should also be recognised as an official language within the European Union’s institutions.

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