Catalan separatists seek to reelect their leader

Carles Puigdemont | Jasper Juinen  Getty Images

Carles Puigdemont | Jasper Juinen Getty Images

Catalonia's two largest pro-independence parties have cut a deal that could see Carles Puigdemont re-elected as the region's president.

Consequently Puigdemont faces arrest and nearly certain imprisonment if he returns to Spain and as in the case of his former deputy leader, Oriol Junqueras (who has spent over two months in prison), it would be unlikely the Spanish Supreme Court would grant him bail.

Catalonian separatists have made a decision to reelect Carles Puigdemont as their regional leader when the new regional parliament meets for the first time on January 17.

Forcadell was a key figure among Catalan leaders who attempted to break away from Spain, a process that culminated with the regional parliament declaring unilateral independence on October 27.

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The result was a setback for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain, who had called the election in the hope that voters would deliver a decisive blow to the secessionist movement.

Separatist parties have an absolute majority of 70 seats out of 135, but eight of their elected officials are either in self-imposed exile in Belgium or in jail in Spain.

However, if Puigdemont is elected leader it is uncertain how he would govern from Brussels.

"It's evident that for governing Catalonia you have to be in Catalonia, you can't do that via WhatsApp or as a hologram", said Ines Arrimadas, the leader of the anti-independence Ciutadans party, as reported by The Associated Press.

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Many of the Catalan political leaders were arrested on charges of sedition and rebellion after the independence declaration.

Catalonia's parliamentary speaker said today she would step down as she is investigated for sedition and rebellion over her role in the independence drive, the latest separatist leader to leave their post. The Spanish leader has also described as "absurd" the idea that Puigdemont could lead Catalonia from overseas.

Junqueras has asked for release from jail to attend the first meeting of the new Catalan parliament.

However, another issue is that although separatists have a majority, the rules of the Catalan assembly dictate that deputies can not delegate their vote and with Puigdemont in Belgium and Junqueras and other elected deputies either in jail or in exile and in theory unable to vote, that majority effectively vanishes.

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Madrid dismissed the regional parliament and called a new election after an illegal referendum in October.

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