Carles Puigdemont is to request judicial permission to attend his inauguration as Catalan president after Spain’s top court barred him from being sworn in from Belgium in an intensifying showdown over his bid to return to power.
The government in Madrid had filed a controversial appeal against Mr Puigdemont’s nomination as president in the hope of blocking the inauguration session scheduled for Tuesday.
After a lengthy debate stretching late into Saturday night, the Constitutional Court refused to hear the appeal but delivered a compromise ruling: Mr Puigdemont must attend the Catalan parliament to be sworn in in person. The decision poses a complicated dilemma for Mr Puigdemont, who faces arrest on charges of sedition and rebellion if he returns to Spain from his self-imposed exile in Belgium.
Independence parties had proposed a long distance inauguration – via video link or through a delegate – but parliamentary leaders now face the threat of jail if they defy the court. It also puts the question of Mr Puigdemont’s inauguration into the hands of Pablo Llarena, the Supreme Court judge overseeing the case against him and other pro-independence politicians, whose permission was stipulated by the Constitutional Court.
Mr Llarena would almost certainly either deny the request or attach the condition that he also turn himself in; he may well also insist that Mr Puigdemont present the request in person. Junts Per Catalunya, Mr Puigdemont’s electoral platform, said on Sunday morning that it would file the request in the coming hours, but insisted the inauguration session would go ahead come what may.
But he also claimed it as a “slap in the face” for the Spanish government, which had pushed ahead with the appeal despite the rare opposition of the State Council, the highest consultative body. In Madrid, however, the ruling was hailed as a victory for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in his bid to prevent the return of the fugitive leader. “The law in Spain cannot be mocked and whoever does so will end up facing the consequences,” said Pablo Casado, a spokesman for Mr Rajoy’s Popular Party.
Click Here: cheap nrl jerseys