Catalan-Madrid showdown expected as Puigdemont reinstatement vote looms

Catalan-Madrid showdown expected as Puigdemont reinstatement vote looms

Catalonia’s parliament is scheduled to hold a controversial vote of confidence today in favour of Carles Puigdemont for the region’s presidency. Facing charges of sedition and rebellion, Puigdemont was ousted by Madrid as regional president in October and has been living in exile in Brussels since. Madrid imposed direct rule on the Spanish region shortly

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Photo: Getty

Catalonia’s parliament is scheduled to hold a controversial vote of confidence today in favour of Carles Puigdemont for the region’s presidency.

Facing charges of sedition and rebellion, Puigdemont was ousted by Madrid as regional president in October and has been living in exile in Brussels since.

Madrid imposed direct rule on the Spanish region shortly after its declaration of independence. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s plan to defuse the crisis by calling for new regional elections in December backfired when separatist parties ended up winning a new majority. Despite threats from Madrid to appeal Puigdemont’s reinstatement, the regional parliament proposed him as the sole candidate for the presidency.

If elected, Puigdemont faces the decision of whether or not to risk arrest by returning to Spain to exercise his duties. The possibility Puigdemont assumes the presidency remotely and in exile is also on the table, although Spain’s Constitutional Court ruled that he has to physically attend a swearing-in session to become regional leader.

Madrid faces the decision of further exasperating separatist sentiments by arresting Puigdemont should he return, or appealing his candidacy to the Council of State. Look out for a continued exchange of threats from both sides, and eventually concessions—perhaps in the form of a kind of amnesty agreement for Puigdemont—as this crisis in Spain continues to unfold.

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