The parliament in Catalonia has declared its support for former leader Carles Puigdemont’s right to become president of the northeastern Spanish region again.
Pro-Independence parties in Catalonia’s parliament announced Wednesday that they would recognize Puigdemont’s right to be a candidate for heading the regional government again.
Puigdemont went on the run in October after reading a unilateral declaration of independence for Catalonia which Spain deemed illegal. Madrid then dismantled his administration and the regional parliament and imposed direct rule. Puigdemont, who is wanted on charges of rebellion and sedition, was arrested in Germany on Sunday pending a ruling on Spain’s extradition request.
In their declaration, the separatist parties of Junts per Catalunya, Esquerra Republicana and the CUP said that Puigdemont had the right to become a candidate for Catalonia’s presidency race based on his own statements after arrest in Germany which showed he would continue to defy Madrid’s pressures and fight for regional independence.
“The Spanish justice system’s interference has forced him (Puigdemont) to provisionally renounce his candidacy but we will not give up,” said Gemma Geis, a member of Junts per Catalunya in the Catalan parliament.
The new Catalan parliament, which was formed following snap elections in December, initially proposed Puigdemont’s rule from exile. Spain’s Constitutional Court rejected the idea and said any candidate vying for presidency must have a physical presence in the parliament’s leadership vote.
Several people were injured in clashes that erupted in streets of Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, after Puigdemont’s arrest. Lawyers said Tuesday that the former leader had full trust in the German legal system and was not opposed to prosecutors’ decision to have him under custody.
A court has normally 60 days to rule on extradition based on a European arrest warrant.