The newly elected speaker of the Catalan parliament, Roger Torrent, announced on Monday, that the exiled former leader, Carles Puigdemont, will be the only nominee for the position of president of the Catalan government.
Torrent said that he was aware of the “personal and legal situation” in which Puigdemont finds himself, but argued that he is the only candidate with enough support to lead the government.
Puigdemont has been living in Brussels since fleeing Spain where he faced arrest for his part in organising an independence referendum that was deemed illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court.
According to Torrent, who was elected as speaker of the parliament last week, Puigdemont has “absolute legitimacy” to be a candidate and is the person that generates consensus among the parliamentary groups. He also said that his wish as the chamber’s elected speaker is “to do everything possible to express the popular will.”
The opposition Socialists have denounced Puigdemont’s candidacy, which has already been rejected by Madrid, as a mistake. “It is a mistake, a mistake, it does not conform to the law,” said Eva Granados, parliamentary spokesperson for the Catalan Socialists.
The pro-independence deputy responded by saying “we must know how to listen to citizens and the result of the elections of December 21 is so clear, that any impediment to prevent the investiture of Puigdemont would be a mistake.”
Meanwhile Puigdemont has been accused of trying to “provoke his arrest abroad” on Monday by leaving Belgium and travelling to Denmark to give a university lecture.