Painted portrait of Ex-president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont
By Christopher Collins
Who on earth would run for an office in one country and still think he’s from another?
Answer: The ousted president of the autonomous region of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont. Also the leaders of the Catalan pro-independence political parties who have already announced they’re running for re-election after they have unilaterally and illegally proclaimed the independence of Catalonia on Friday, 27 October 2017.
On the day of the proclamation, the Senate (Upper Chamber of the Spanish Parliament) approved the application of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution in Catalonia. Puigdemont and members of his government were fired and the Catalan parliament was dissolved.
Sometime between Friday and Monday, 30 October, Puigdemont slipped away secretly from Catalonia. On Monday he posted on Instagram a photo showing him in the Palau de la Generalitat, seat of the regional Govern de Catalunya, to mislead the central government into thinking he was in the Palau. It was an old picture, a smokescreen. By noon he has been tracked down in Brussels, a deserter, not to say fugitive.
Puigdemont denies deserting his people. He argues that he fled Spain to “internationalize” the cause of Catalan independence. However, the Belgian government is having no part in the conflict that it adamantly considers a purely domestic issue in Spain despite the surprising presence of the “independentistas” on Belgian soil.
The Article 155, on which the dissolution of the regional parliament and the firing of Puigdemont and his government are based, says: If a Self-governing Community [e.g., Catalonia] does not fulfil the obligations imposed upon it by the Constitution or other laws, or acts in a way that is seriously prejudicial to the general interest of Spain, the Government, after having lodged a complaint with the President of [that] Self-governing Community and failed to receive satisfactory response, may, following approval granted by the overall majority of the Senate, take all measures necessary to compel the Community to meet said obligations, or to protect the abovementioned general interest.
One of the several measures that the central government headed up by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is implementing under Article 155 is the holding of parliamentary elections in Catalonia on 21 December to elect a new Catalan Parliament and therefore replace the Govern. At the same time, Puigdemont will be tried in Spanish courts for rebellion, sedition and misappropriation of public funds.
Funny but after escaping to Brussels, he and his partisans are planning their strategies in earnest on how to win the elections. But how about the brand new Republic of Catalonia? What’s their business running in an election framed by the Spanish legal and political system?
Will someone please tell me what’s going on! After proclaiming their independence from Spain, their first act under the new republic is to run for office in a Spanish election!
What’s that supposed to mean? Who’s kidding who?
Featured image/Thierry Ehrmann, CC BY2.0
Catalan Parliament/Andrew and Annemari via Flickr, CC BY-SA2.0
Hotel Chambord, website, Fair Use