Catalonia’s newly elected parliament meets ahead of presidential election

Catalonia’s newly elected parliament meets ahead of presidential election

Catalonia’s recently elected parliament will meet today to choose the committee that rules its daily activities; later this month, the parliament will elect the region’s new leader. The leadership issue will likely overshadow today’s meeting, as Catalonia’s preferred president, Carles Puigdemont, remains exiled in Belgium. However, separatists have raised the unorthodox idea of Puigdemont governing

Carles Puigdemont, dismissed President of Catalonia, reacts while viewing results in Catalonia’s regional election in Brussels

Photo: REUTERS

Catalonia’s recently elected parliament will meet today to choose the committee that rules its daily activities; later this month, the parliament will elect the region’s new leader.

The leadership issue will likely overshadow today’s meeting, as Catalonia’s preferred president, Carles Puigdemont, remains exiled in Belgium. However, separatists have raised the unorthodox idea of Puigdemont governing from Belgium via video link. In response, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy threatened to continue Madrid’s direct rule over the region until a new, physically present president is sworn in.

For their part, Puigdemont’s political allies, the Republican Left and Popular Unity Candidacy parties, have expressed uncertainty over the former president’s candidacy from afar, with the latter demanding that an alternative candidate be found. But as most of the former region’s leaders remain exiled or imprisoned, there is no obvious alternative candidate to assume the presidency. With Madrid unlikely to drop charges against Puigdemont—thereby making his return to Spain unlikely—the former president could choose to rule by proxy by placing a figurehead to govern in his place.

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