Catalan separatists agree deal to re-elect Carles Puigdemont

Catalan separatists agree deal to re-elect Carles Puigdemont

The two main Catalan separatist parties Together for Catalonia (Junts per Catalonia - JpC) and the Republican Left (ERC) have reached an agreement that aims to see former Carles Puigdemont re-elected as leader of the region in northeast Spain.

JpC won 34 seats in the December 21 regional elections, while ERC won 32 with the radical separatists CUP claiming 4 seats to give pro-Catalan independence forces a majority in the 150 seats Catalan Assembly.

Mr Puigdemont fled to Brussels after Spanish authorities levelled charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds against him for his role in the region's disputed independence referendum.

The assembly has been convened for its first sitting on January 17 and how that issue and the question of Puigdemont's return as the region's leader are eventually resolved are still to therefore be decided. Spain has jailed other pro-separatist leaders involved in the independence push.

The Spanish attorney general wants to prosecute 20 separatists, including Puigdemont, on charges of organizing an unconstitutional referendum on October 1 and then declaring Catalonia's independence.

Once the Catalan parliament is formed, potential leaders of the regional government will put themselves forward for a vote of confidence, although it could take months for a new government to emerge.


While the anti-secession Ciutadans (Citizens) collected the most votes of any single party, the prime minister's hope that the separatists would suffer a stinging rebuke at the polls went unfulfilled.

Puigdemont has called on Rajoy to meet outside Spain, to negotiate a settlement to their dispute, a proposal the prime minister has rejected. Three are still behind bars pending a trial, while Puigdemont, with four of his cabinet members, fled to Brussels.

Far from ending the secessionist conflict, the election has opened another uncertain chapter for Spain.

Mas previously supported Puigdemont in his push for independence but he may now favour a different candidate within the PdeCat in order to pave the way for a new separatist-led government, according to Barcelona-based newspaper La Vanguardia. However, Puigdemont is demanding to be re-instated as Catalan president and continuing with his independence drive after his strong election showing.

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

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